Re: A3XX vs B747-600 (was: Airbus lawsuit coming?)

From:         faurecm@halcyon.com (C. Marin Faure)
Organization: Northwest Nexus Inc.
Date:         18 Aug 96 20:13:39 
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In article <airliners.1996.1650@ohare.Chicago.COM>, Jennings Heilig
<jheilig@gate.net> wrote:

> I've got articles from the 1966-1970 period which use virtually the
> exact same wording you've used in arguing the future of the 747.
> Hardly anyone thought the 747 would be built in anything like the
> numbers it has, and I'll wager that no one would have guessed it would
> still be in production at the turn of the century and beyond.
>
> I know there are vast differences in the arguments, and that the
> situation in the world has changed dramatically since 1966, but my
> guess is that you'll see Boeing forge ahead with the stretched 747s in
> the not too distant future.  Not so sure about Airbus, as I don't
> think they're in the position Boeing is to launch another product
> right now.  While the new 747 variants are certainly going to be
> different airplanes from current versions, the Airbus proposal for the
> A3XX will be a new airplane from the ground up (if I understand
> correctly).  While the guts may be different in the Boeing design, a
> fair amount of the nuts and bolt engineering is already done and paid
> for.


If the market warrants a 500-600 seat airplane, Boeing and/or Airbus will
build it.  Unlike the situation in the past, when Boeing would design and
build a plane based on the input of a relatively few number of customers
(only one in the case of the 747,  Juan Tripp of Pan Am) and then offer it
to everyone as a done deal, we now involve our customers very deeply in
the initial concept and design decision processes, as evidenced by the way
we handled the 777 program.

If our customers determine that they have a need for a 500+ seat airplane,
and if they decide their need is definite enough to order sufficient
planes to justify the expense of designing and producing it, then someone
will build it.

By the way, the 747 was intended from the begining to be a freighter.
That is why the cockpit is above the main deck.  Juan Tripp's idea was
that long-range passenger transportation would eventually be handled by
the SST fleet, which was then under development.  What he envisioned was a
"stopgap" airplane that he could use to carry lots of people on long
flights while the SST was being designed, built, and tested.  Once the SST
entered service, Tripp intended to convert all of Pan Am's 747s to cargo
exclusively.  So it was this ultimate purpose of a cargo carrier which
actually influenced the design.

Of course, the SST never materialized, so the 747 continued in its very
successful role as a passenger carrier, but that was not the intention.
If the SST HAD been put into production, you would not see any 747s in
passenger service today, assuming Juan Tripp's plan had continued through
to fruition.

C. Marin Faure
   author, Flying a Floatplane