Re: thoughts on the A330

From: (H Andrew Chuang)
Organization: International Internet Association.
Date:         07 Sep 95 02:49:26 
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In article <42kll1$>, spagiola (

> (H Andrew Chuang) wrote:

> > I believe the B767 is also a widebody twin, hence, it's not 100% of the
> > market.

> Yes, but the 767 wasn't around in the late 1970s, which is the period
> Karl was discussing in the original post.

> > JAL, ANA, and China Airlines all had orders of the B767 (you
> > included Toa, then JAL and ANA should be counted).

> Ditto here.  All these orders came later.

Since you included China Airlines and Singapore Airlines (both ordered
around 1980), that's why I made the earlier statement.  I believe China
Airlines actually ordered the B767 before they ordered the A300 (which
was not orded by CAL but by the Taiwanese government), if memory serves.

> > Also, I don't consider the Pacific Rim A300 fleet to be
> > insignificant.

> Neither do I; that was the whole point.

Misunderstood, because you said

> This was a small share of the overall market, but a significant one
> for that category of aircraft

so I took it you meant the share was insignificant.

> > I think that's why the
> > A330 was able to secure many orders from the Pacific Rim airlines,
> > initially.  However, this time I think Boeing has finally turned the tide.
> > The B777 is definitely picking up steam in the Pacific Rim with seven
> > committed customers (JAL, ANA, JAS, KAL, China Southern, CPA, THAI) and
> > three customers with letters of intent (CAL, EVA, and Air China) with
> > a total of 68 aircraft plus 43 unsigned firm orders; while the A330 has
> > only six customers (KAL, CPA, DragonAir, THAI, MAS, and Garuda) and a
> > total order of 45 aircraft (which include 3 that Garuda allegedly have
> > cancelled).

> Boeing definitely seems to have a winner with the 777.  Given the
> commonality between A330 and A340, however, wouldn't a better
>  comparison be 777s vs A330 AND A340s?  The Cathay pilot who posted
> recently seemed to think it was an important advantage.

Okay, the A340 has five Pacific Rim A340 customers (CPA, China Eastern,
Philippine, Singapore, All Nippon) with a total order of 37.  So, it's
111 vs 82 (and Boeing was at least three years behind).  However, most of
the B777 ordered by the Pacific Rim airlines are of the
short-to-medium-haul type.  Only China Southern's and some of KAL's are
B-market type.  That's why I compared the A330 with the B777.  As I said
it in one of my previous posts, I believe the A340 will remain quite
popular with some conservative operators for long-haul flights.

About the comments made by a Cathay pilot:

1. If the commonality is so important, why didn't Cathay push Airbus
   to build the A330-400X instead?  From what I heard, Cathay was the
   strongest proponent for the B777-300.

2. If the commonality is so great, why has Airbus only convinced Cathay
   to buy the combination?  Furthermore, the Cathay A340 deal was cinched
   only after the PAL order was in jeopardy.  I highly doubt the
   commonality was a major reason for Cathay's order.  (Air France
   eventually will become the second A330/340 operator when they take over
   Air Inter's A330.  Perhaps, Airbus will get Singapore to be the third
   one.  Let's see if that will happen.  If Airbus can't, then I really
   think the so-called A330/340 commonality is just a marketing hype.)

3. Don't forget, the B777 is doing the job of two Airbus aircraft types,
   commonality is meaningful only if the airlines involved also operate
   an A320 fleet (but narrowbody aircraft has never been highly demanded
   among Pacific Rim operators).  Airlines only need to maintain one type
   of engine for the current and any future versions of the B777.  However,
   for the A330/340 family, airlines may need to maintain three (or even
   four) engine types (since the CFM56, and the CF6-80E1 has reached their
   growth potential).

4. Let's also look at Cathay's past record of aircraft choices, they have
   almost always picked the odd-ball aircraft (not necessarily bad
   aircraft, but definitely not "mainstream"): the Convair 880, the L1011,
   the _R-R-powered_ B747, and now the A330 and the A340 (the last two are
   too early to be classified as odd-ball).  The only "mainstream"
   aircraft that Cathay had operated was the B707 (yes, the -320 not the
   R-R-powered -420).  Operating non-mainstream aircraft usually
   translates into higher opearating cost.  By ordering the A330, A340,
   AND the B777 certainly do not appear to me Cathay is concerned about
   commonality, efficiency, and cost.

  H Andrew Chuang