Re: ATR-72's and Airbuses

Date:         19 Dec 96 03:06:33 
From:         Alan Wong <Alan.Wong@anu.edu.au>
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H Andrew Chuang wrote:
>
> In article <airliners.1996.2893@ohare.Chicago.COM> Alan Wong (Alan.Wong@anu.edu.au) wrote:
> >
> > Mmm. In my opinion the B777, B747-500/600 and B737-600/700/800 are somewhat
> > influenced by the existence of equivalent Airbus models. Remember that
> > Boeing was putting forward the B767-400 before the airlines insisted
> > on something brand new? With the A330/A340 available, Boeing couldn't say
> > "This is what we are building. Take it or leave it."
>
> Boeing has to put a new wing (and various other things) on the B737 to
> make it fly higher, faster, and farther.  Yes, Boeing is responding to
> the competition (the A320 family), but Boeing is also responding to what
> the market wants.

And more importantly what the market can get from its competitor.

> It's simply wrong to assume that Boeing would not
> respond to the market if there were no Airbus.

But not incorrect to say that the response will be less vigourous. To put it
simply, if a product rating 5/10 (a pass) can sell without competition to
bring the orders (and money) in, then why bother building something a lot better.
Why not save the 10/10 product to a later date when the 5/10 product becomes
outdated and when the market wants something better? Then the manufacturer
will get two production runs earning money on both. But when the competition
is already offering a 9/10 product, then you have to go straight to the 10/10
product. I am not (and never meant) we would never get the B777, B747-500/600
or the B737-600/700/800 without Airbus. I am saying we would not be getting
them in the time frame we are going to and that they wouldn't be as good as
they are now going to be.

> Without Airbus, Boeing
> would have to respond to a different competitor, most likely, McDonnell
> Douglas (as well as the market).  In the beginning, Airbus was set out
> to break the monopoly by US suppliers in the commercial avaition market.
> They have done it successful (mostly at the expense of MDC).  Boeing had
> never had a monopoly, nor will it likely to ever have in the future.

OK. Suppose McDonnell Douglas were to be the competitor. Let's see what
they needed to provide a full family of jets. How about a completely
revamped narrowbody to replace the DC-9/MD-80 platform (something major along
the lines of the new generation 737), a medium sized widebody to replace
the DC-10/MD-11 and a large widebody like the once proposed MD-12. And
this in the 1980s, not now. That's three programs! Did they have the money
to do it? Probably besides the point now. If they did have the money,
but chose not to, then whose fault is it that they are now faltering.
Not Airbus'. If their commercial division didn't have the money and
they had to get some money from their military work, then would it
not be similar to a subsidy? And then in all fairness, some of us may
now be throwing abuse at them for selling underpriced planes ;-)

I know this is all speculative. But given all the evidence, it is my opinion
that Airbus was always going to be a stronger competitor to Boeing than
McDonnell Douglas would have been.

> It's true that in certain market sectors, there is no one directly
> competing with Boeing's products, for example, the 757 (even the
> A321-200 will have significantly shorter range than the 757), the
> 767-300ER (the A330-200 is about 15% larger than the -300ER), and, of
> course, the B747.  However, even with the B747, Boeing has to listen to
> their customers.  For example, when the B747-400 was initially
> introduced, there were quite a few problems.  According to your reasoning,
> Boeing could have said "take it or leave it."  But did Boeing do that?

I think you have missed my point - see the first paragraph of this post.
Boeing had to make the plane at least 5/10 to keep the 747 production line
rolling and to make some extra $$.