Re: Are Two Engine 757 & 767 Jets Dangerous?

Date:         08 Dec 96 04:12:35 
From: (H Andrew Chuang)
Organization: Concentric Internet Services
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In article <airliners.1996.2698@ohare.Chicago.COM>,
Stefano Pagiola  <> wrote:
>So, that leaves two questions:
>First, should the 4-engine A340 have been built at all? ie, are you
>correct in supposing that it would not have been had 777-class engines
>been available at the time?  If one judges by the continuing demand for
>the A340 even now that the 777 is available, including by airlines that
>have 777s on order (eg Cathay), it would seem that not all agree with you.
>Lufthansa explicitly preferred the 4-engine A340 for its long routes.

I don't expect everyone to agree, but I think most airlines prefer
twins.  Even Airbus implicitly agreed when it launched the A330-200
of which the range is only 1,000 nm less than the A340-200.

On Cathay's A340 order:  Cathay has four B777-200As and the rest are
converted to the B777-300.  My guess is Cathay all along was interested
in the -300 to replace the B747-200s.  They ordered the B777 with the
understanding that Boeing would soon committed to the -300.  Cathay has
always been very conservative, and I'm not surprised that they are
reluctant to use twins on long-haul routes.  BTW, before Cathay's
B777 order, Airbus was seriously courting Cathay for the proposed
stretched A330-400X.  The project silently disappeared after Cathay's
B777 order.  Do you think it was a coincidence?

You cited two examples, but I can cite many more counter-examples.
Singapore ordered the B777-200IGW even though it has the A340, ditto
for Air France, EgyptAir, and Kuwait Airways (all these B777 orders
came after the A340 orders).  Malaysia ordered the B777-200IGW even
though it has a large fleet of A330, same for Eural Air, Korean Air,
Garuda Indonesia, and soon Asiana.  (Asiana is ready to officially
announce its order of 28 A330s and 20 B777s any day now.)

>Second, given that Airbus wanted to proceed with a 4-engine aircraft, is
>the fact that stretched versions will need a new class of engines "poor
>planning"?  It may well look that way.  But consider that Airbus was
>already late compared to Douglas.  If the A340 hadn't been available when
>it was, Douglas would likely have picked up most of those orders, probably
>allowing it to overcome the problems it faced trying to introduce the
>MD-11 at the time of the Gulf War.  By the time the A340 came around with
>the perfect engine, there would have been little market left (especially
>with Boeing squeezing from the other end).  Would Airbus have preferred to
>launch the A340 with an engine better-sized to it, rather than one
>stretched to the limits of its potential?  Sure.  But they did not have
>one available, so they went with what they had, which did the job that
>current market conditions demanded.  I submit that there's a difference
>between accepting a trade-off and "very very poor planning."

I have to agree with you that Airbus did time it perfectly to kill
the MD-11.  Nevertheless, the MD-11 was based on an archaic and
problematic DC-10.  Even in 1990, Airbus was convinced that they could
dominate this market sector (they forecasted that the A330 alone would
outsell the B777 by a six-to-four margin).  However, they have
under-estimated the marketability of the B777.  That's why they are now
"scrambling" their product line in order to compete effectively with
the B777.  Airbus currently either offers or plans on nine different
A330/340 models (namely, the A330-200, -300, -400X; and the A340-200,
-300, -300E, -8000 [which I believe is almost dead], -500X, -600X).
OTOH, Boeing has five only (namely, the B777-200, -200IGW, -300, -100X
[which I believe is almost dead just like the A340-8000], and -200X).
You tell me which company is planning its product in a more organized
manner.  (Also, if picking an engine, the CFM-56, with no room to grow
for its base model is not poor planning, then what is?)