Date: 27 Jan 97 02:45:54 From: Chuanga@cris.com (H Andrew Chuang) Organization: Concentric Internet Services References: 1 Followups: 1
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In article <airliners.1997.238@ohare.Chicago.COM> Karl Swartz (kls@ohare.Chicago.COM) wrote: > Today's Wall St. Journal has an article on page A3 (of the Western > Edition) saying that Boeing has cancelled plans to build two larger > derivatives of the 747 (the -500X and -600X) due to escalating costs > and insufficient orders from customers. > I guess I just can't keep quite on this subject. ;-) Being from East Asia, I'm a firm believer of the superjumbo, particularly for the East Asian market. Perhaps, the market may not be ready for the new aircraft. Nevertheless, I think it will happen; and I think Airbus will make it happen. Boeing's reasons for cancelling the project are logical. However, I think Airbus's marketing people have done a great job in convincing some key customers from not committing to Boeing. The superjumbo will have a smaller customer base than the B747. (The customer base for the B747 is already a small one. Approximately 50% of the B747 in service are with the top ten or twelve B747 operators.) Even before launching the A3XX, Airbus basically has at least three customers in its basket, namely, Air France, Lufthansa, and Korean Air (Korea is likely to be the first Asian A3XX partner). Unfortunately for Boeing, United and NW will not provide too many orders. In addition, with both British and Singapore willing to wait to see Airbus's offering, Boeing simply does not have a solid base to work with. Before the Farnborough Air Show last September, it appeared Boeing had locked in with Singapore, Japan, etc. Boeing's three-year advantage seemed to be insurmountable. However, Airbus's last minute maneuver appeared to have worked. Anyway, maybe there is an interesting twist: I read about a British speculation in a news digest (I have not read the actual article). It suggested that Boeing is working on a futuristic lifting-surface superjumbo previously proposed by McDonnell Douglas. Of course, Boeing denied the report. P.S. I had previously mentioned about the differences in superjumbo market projections by various manufacturers. I had expressed my doubts about Airbus's figure of nearly 1,400 deliveries in the next 20 years. However, at that time, I did not notice there was a difference in Airbus's and Boeing's market base. Boeing's figure is for aircraft with a seating capacity of 500 and over, while Airbus's is for 400 and over. Thus, the discrepancy between Boeing's and Airbus's figures may not be as significant as it appears.