A340 development

Date:         19 Feb 97 02:46:23 
From:         Chuanga@cris.com (H Andrew Chuang)
Organization: Concentric Internet Services
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A few days ago, Airbus and GE announced that GE is not going to offer the
GEXX for the proposed A340-600X due to differences in pricing and risk
sharing.  Pratt and R-R are ready to talk to Airbus.  If Airbus does go
ahead with the A340-600X using either a Pratt or R-R engine, then this
will be the first time an Airbus airframe is not initially offered with
either a GE or CFMI engine.

The A340-600X needs a new engine so that the operation cost of the new
plane can be competitive with Boeing products.  I doubt Pratt will go
ahead with the Advance Dcuted Prop (ADP).  I'm not sure if R-R has any
solid proposal on the table at this time  (the RB411 has been mentioned
before).  Thus, IMHO, Airbus is caught in a awkward position.  If it
decides against the idea of launching the A340-600X (and -500X), then
it will leave two market sectors to Boeing, namely the 400-seat market
as well as the ultra-long-range (i.e., over 8,500 nm) market.

IMHO, GE, with an exclusive engine agreement with Airbus, determined
that the market is not big enough even for a single engine supplier
to justify the spending of reportedly US$1 billion on the new engine.
As an airline, I would think a mix of B777-200As, B777-200IGWs,
B777-200Xs, B777-300s, and B777-300Xs with one engine type is much
more desirable than a mix of A340-300s (B777-200IGW equivalent),
A340-500X (B777-200X equivalent), and A340-600X (B777-300X equivalent)
with two engine types and there are still no proper aircraft for two
segments (i.e., B777-200A and B777-300).  By including the A330-300
(B777-200A equivalent), you add another engine type to your fleet, and
there is still no 375-seat class aircraft for medium-range operations.

If Airbus does shelve the A340-500X/600X, then I think likelihood of
Airbus launching the A3XX will greatly be increased.

***********************************************************************

In case you are confused by the model numbers, the following is a rough
classification of all A330/340 and B777 models (anything with an "X"
suffix are models under study):

                 Medium range        Long range              Ultra long range
                  ~5,000 nm        6,500-7,500 nm               ~8,500 nm

250-seat              (767-400X)  A330-200                A340-8000 v B777-100X
                                  A340-200

300-seat    A330-300 v B777-200   A340-300 v B777-200IGW  A340-500X v B777-200X

375-seat   A330-400X v B777-300   A340-600X v B777-300X

***********************************************************************

P.S. China Eastern has recently announced its Summer 97 schedule.  The
     airline will operate all its LAX services with the MD-11 instead
     of the A340.  Earlier, I have heard the airline was not happy with
     the long-range performance of the A340.  The new schedule seems to
     confirm the unsubstantiated rumor.