Re: Boeing cancels 747-500X/600X?

Date:         01 Mar 97 02:44:59 
From:         tschell@s.psych.uiuc.edu (Terry Schell)
Organization: University of Illinois at Urbana
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M.J.Jennings@amtp.cam.ac.uk (Michael Jennings) writes:

>	The problem with Narita isn't that it is being overused as a hub
>when there should be direct flights, it's that an airport with a single
>runway is being used for virtually all international traffic out of one
>of the world's largest cities, which happens to be the principal city
>of the world's second largest economy. Narita is woefully inadequate
>for serving Tokyo, even if you discount onward traffic. There is of
>course a fair argument that the solution is to build more airport
>capacity, not larger aircraft, and this is of course true. However,
>in Japan this is politically very difficult. While it remains politically
>difficult, there is a market for a larger aircraft. There are only a few
>airports worldwide for which this sort of argument applies, so the market
>for such an aircraft at present is only a niche market. However, it is a
>real one.

Of course, if these super-jumbo's require more flight separation,
longer/wider runways, longer turnaround times and more gate space...
they may not serve to reduce congestion at Nartia at all.
Furthermore, the 3XX will probably only hold 20% more passengers
than a 747-400... which implies a relatively minor impact on congestion
even if all of the 747 switched to the new super-jumbo's and even
without considering the moderating factors mentioned above.  Compare that
to the effect on congestion if all of the smaller planes switched to
747's?

I guess what I am saying is that I don't buy the "reducing congestion"
argument for the next generation super-jumbo.  If there were intense
congestion problems we would be seeing pressure to replace the smaller
planes with bigger ones... but the current trend in most markets is
the opposite.  We could reduce the flight cycles in most markets by
100% even with currently avail. planes, but we are not doing it.

The only real long term pressure for a new super-jumbo is lower
seat/mile costs over current jumbo's.  Given the development costs and
current small market for these planes, I don't see them having a low
seat/mile cost for some time (even assuming substantial improvments in
fuel burn).

BTW, does anyone think that Boeing could counter an Airbus 600
passenger plane without introducing a new plane themselves?  How low
do you think they could go on the price of a 747-400 and still be
profitable?  Do you think Airbus's new plane could compete on a seat/mile
basis with a rock-bottom priced 747-400?

Sincerely,
Terry Schell