Re: Big Twin Competition (was Re: Boeing/MDC merger)

From:         kls@ohare.Chicago.COM (Karl Swartz)
Organization: Chicago Software Works, Menlo Park, California
Date:         18 Dec 95 15:26:03 
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>In most of the discussion about the 777 against Airbus, the 777 is pitted
>against the 330 with arguments that the 330 isn't doing well.

>I was under the impression that the 777 was in competition against the DC-10
>and the A-340, so it is really fair to compare sales of the 330 against those
>of the 777 ?

It would be the MD-11 and not the DC-10.  Otherwise, you're right, and
in general it's common to see the 777 pitted against the A330/A340 and
MD-11.  The MD-11 may increasingly be left out of discussions since it
seems to have nearly disappeared from the competition, except for the
freighter market where it is doing quite well.

>Since the next variant of the 777 seems to be the long range one, it
>would seem that Boeing is really eying the 340 market, right ?

I assume you mean the next 777 variant to launch, and not the upcoming
(but already launched) 777-300.  The 777-100X proposal appears to be
even longer range than the existing A340 -- it's clear competitor will
be the A340-8000.

>Should we compare airliners by their number of engines alone, or shouldn't
>range/capacity be a more important factor ?

Yes, though I don't think people have been ignoring the other issues.
The *current* 777-200 (not the B market version) does compare directly
with the A330 on most counts, including range.  Some of the uses which
have been discussed here do not require the longer range, and thus the
competition really is between the 777 and A330.  Neither the MD-11 nor
the A340 would be reasonable candidates for L-1011 replacement at TWA
or Delta, for example, other than Delta's small fleet of L-1011-500s.

That's not to say that engine count isn't important -- part of the
reason behind my comment regarding TWA and Delta is that economics
make it very unlikely that any airline would buy an aircraft with more
than two engines for U.S. domestic routes anymore.  In competing with
the A340-8000, the 777-100X will face the "twin" issue.  An airline
can choose the 777-200/-100X pair or the A330/A340-8000 pair and have
many similar commonality benefits.  The Airbus pairing requires that
an airline maintain two different engines, unlike the 777, but doesn't
require ETOPS for long overwater flights.  ETOPS across the Atlantic
is not a hard sell, but it's not clear that the same can be said about
the vast expanses of the North Pacific, so engine count vs. commonality
will undoubtedly be a key question in the Airbus vs. Boeing struggle.

Karl Swartz	|Home
Moderator of sci.aeronautics.airliners -- Unix/network work pays the bills