Re: Airbus A3XX---vapor plane?

From:         carvalho@phoenix.Princeton.EDU (Tassio A. Carvalho)
Organization: Kindergarten
Date:         29 Feb 96 01:24:25 
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<rna@gsb-birr.Stanford.EDU (Robert Ashcroft)> wrote:
>There's no question that Boeing makes a lot of its money from the 747,

That only happens because the 747 has been around for a long time.
The A3XX is Airbus' self destruction button.
Boeing's own production estimates for the 747 derivatives
look pretty conservative (~25/year). It may be because (i) in
case of a downturn, large aircraft orders may suffer more than
others, (ii) Boeing is already factoring in some Airbus competitor,
(iii) Boeing is trying to make the market look small to
scare Airbus or (iv) the market is small indeed.

I stick with option (iv). Demand for the 747 has been inflated
in the past because there was no "slightly smaller" alternative
and because of range. Now there is the A340, the 777-300 and
there will be some very long range 777. These aircraft steal
some 747 orders.
Three of the largest 747 operators (LH, SQ and BA) are already
lined up at Boeing's launchpad before the aircraft are frozen.
Airbus' project only has a chance if it captures some of the other
big 747 customers (AF, JL, UA, NW, CX, ANA, Korean, QF), which
sounds unlikely. Even if the plane looks great on paper, airlines
will be wary to commit to a brand new $250m plane when they can opt
for a derivative of something that has proved to work well.

>It's also hard to justify even from a industrial policy viewpoint.
>Even if you accept that Europe "must" have the capability to build
>transport aircraft, that's been achieved with the A330/340 program.

There is also the A300 ST, which has a huge fuselage but very
likely limited range and is being pushed as a military transport.