Re: New Airliners. What's cooking?

From:         Alain Deckers <MBZALGD@mh1.mcc.ac.uk>
Organization: Manchester University
Date:         15 Jun 95 19:27:55 
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I apologise if this is a repeat post, but I don't have much
confidence in my news reader.

In <news:airliners.1995.659@ohare.Chicago.COM> Douglas Wakefield
<wakefiel@tmn.com> wrote:

>Is there really a demand for a 6 to 8 hundred passenger craft.  Isn't
>this a replay of the 70's when the three jumbos arrived on the scene >just as the demand fell off?

This issue has puzzled me recently. Until a few months ago, whenever
you talked to "marketing" people from Boeing or Airbus, they insisted
that the market would only take one "super-jumbo". Its therefore
surprising to read in the May 22 issue of AW&ST that Paul Mason
(deputy to AI v-p operations) believes that "There may be room for
two competitors" in the market.

I can think of two reasons for this position:

1) After a long period of the aviation industry's equivalent of a "bear
market", we're now entering a "bull market" (in more ways than one!).
Everyone is revising upwards their estimates of traffic volumes for the
next 20 years. Maybe optimism is getting the better of caution. It has
certainly happened in the past (witness late 80s). But the bottom line is
that very few airlines are interested in the super-jumbo (Unless my
memory fails me, I believe the Financial Times recently reported that
only BA and maybe Singapore would go for it).

2) VLCT Phase 2 is due to be completed soon. Could it be that Boeing and
Airbus are bluffing each other? By making these statements known to the
trade press, Mason may just be sending a message to Boeing. The question
remains, however: where would Airbus get the money to develop the A3XX?
Certainly not from cash-flow, and the partners in the GEI definitely
can't afford to provide the money up-front. Also, doesn't the EC-US
bilateral agreement of 1992 rule out a repeat of previous government
subsidies (sorry, "launch aid") to AI? So if it is a bluff, is it a
credible one?

Mason claims that AI would need orders from six airlines for at least 40
aircraft before it could launch the A3XX development programme. How does
this compare with previous wide-body programmes? Anybody know what the
launch requirements of the 747, 777, A330/340 were?

Best regards,

Alain Deckers

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