An unscientific survey (Airbus vs Boeing) [Long]

From:         Andrew Chuang <chuanga@iia2.org>
Date:         08 Jan 96 01:37:28 
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In this and other related newsgroups, most people seem to like Boeing's
planes much better than Airbus's.  Since these newsgroups are dominated by
US audience, I was curious whether people from other parts of the world
share the same view.

During my trip to the Far East, I successfully requested cockpit visits
on three sectors of flight (LAX-Taipei on Singapore's [SQ] B747-400,
Taipei-Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific's [CX] A330-300, and Hong Kong-SFO again
on SQ's B747-400).  On both SQ flights, there were two flight crews on each
flight, but on one of the flights, I only met one crew.  In total, I have
chatted with five captains and three first officers (one New Zealander, one
British, two British-accent Caucasians, and four Singaporeans of Chinese
ethnicity).  Although, the sample was very small, at least none of them had
any (patriotic) reason to favor American products.  Some of SQ's flight
crew that I talked to had previous experience on the A310, some didn't.
None liked Airbus planes.  One captain even said that Airbus planes should
be kept on the ground not in the air; and he thought Boeing did everything
right, especially on the B777.  One first officer cited some "clumsy"
designs/procedures on the A310; but he thought the designers at Boeing
were "geniuses".  On the CX flight, after the pilot told me that he had
previously flown the B747, I asked him which plane he liked better, the
B747 or the A330.  He *hesitated*, then he said the "feel" of the A330
was less "positive" than the B747.  I didn't ask him to elaborate because
he was preparing for landing.

>From a passenger's perspective, my A330 flight was a pleasant one.  Sitting
in the jump seat for the landing at Hong Kong's Kai Tak Airport made my
A330 flight an awesome experience.  Nevertheless, I am surprised that many
of the pilots I met liked the Boeing planes so much more than the Airbus
planes.  One pilot also told me that Air France liked their B767 much
better than the A300/310.  Perhaps, that's why in 1995 Air France
cancelled most of its outstanding aircraft orders but ordered four B767s.

***

Now, let's return to the Airbus/Boeing competition watch:

1. Boeing had a small victory by winning Taiwan's China Airlines (CAL)
   B737-800 order.  First of all, it's the first third-generation B737
   order in the region.  Furthermore, when CAL leased a few A320s in late
   1994, everyone thought that Airbus had the inside track for CAL's order.
   Lately, all the new narrow-body aircraft orders/leases made by Far
   Eastern carriers have gone to either McD (e.g., EVA for the MD90 and
   U-Land for the MD-88) or Airbus (e.g., Vietnam, Air Macau, Sichuan).

2. Philippine Airlines (PAL) is going to make a major purchase of 32
   aircraft, of which 8 will be the B747, the rest will be various Airbus
   aircraft (12 A320s, 8 A330s and 4 A340s).  Airbus needs an Asian order
   desperately.  However, PAL is the weakest international airline in the
   region, Airbus needs orders from a more credible Asian customer than
   PAL.  Just a few years ago, PAL unilaterally cancelled its order of six
   A340-200s.  After many negotiations, PAL was allowed to cancel two,
   the other four were leased to Cathay Pacific by Airbus, but eventually
   will go to PAL when Cathay receives its own A340-300 this year.

3. As expected, Malaysia (MAS) is going to announce a B777/B747 order soon,
   so will Virgin Atlantic.  Airbus made a last-minute concession to
   Malaysia by offering some A340 sub-contract work to MAS Engineering, but
   MAS seems to be determined to go with Boeing.

--
  H Andrew Chuang   chuanga@iia2.org