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

Date:         03 Mar 97 01:30:12 
From:         Alan Wong <Alan.Wong@anu.edu.au>
References:   1 2 3 4 5
Followups:    1
Next article
View raw article
  or MIME structure

Don Stokes wrote:

> On the range front, I wonder if QF & NZ would be interested in longer
> range aircraft.  While both airlines have always been early customers for
> long range models (especially the 767 ERs and 747-400) the 747-400 can
> reach the entire Pacific rim and the lucrative parts of Asia as far as
> India from both AKL and SYD.  The only potentially significant route that
> I can see that QF & NZ can't fly right now is AKL/SYD to New York, and I
> just can't see them buying an aircraft for one route, even if they could
> get landing rights at JFK or EWR.

Qantas and most probably also Air New Zealand are interested in longer range
aircraft. When the 777 visited Australia (think it was in December 1995),
there were reports of "very serious discussions" on future versions of the
747. I would think these discussions centred on the proposed 747-500X rather
than 747-600X, since as Karl said, range rather than capacity is more
important for both airlines.

At present, a 747-400 flying from Los Angeles to Sydney is severely payload
limited (I believe no cargo and 100 empty seats). Also Singapore to London
is rather marginal. For both of these routes, a 747-500X or any aircraft
with a similar range will be more suitable.

Even with 747-500X or similar range aircraft, Sydney to New York at almost
10000 nautical miles is out of range.

> (South America is also a stretch -- it's doable with a 747-400 to some
> parts, but I don't think anyone much wants to.  Chile is served by
> meeting LAN Chile at PPT; Aerolineas Argentinas flies to AKL (747-400
> again) about once a week.  I don't know what you do to get to Brazil.)

At the moment Aerolineas Argentinas flies 3 times a week from Buenos Aires
to Auckland in a 747-200. On the westbound leg, it makes a stopover in Rio
Gallegos at the tip of South America. A 747-400 would be able to do both
ways non-stop to Auckland, but to Sydney, the westbound leg seems to be at
best marginal. A 747-500X would be able to do both legs nonstop. Although
the Australia/New Zealand to South America market is very thin at the
moment, I would not discount its growth potential over the next 10-20
years. And knowing that an aircraft bought is likely to be used for 20 years
at least, I think Qantas and Air New Zealand would consider South America in
its long term fleet requirements.

> I suspect that a 767 with 747-400 range would be welcome though.  That
> would mean an easier transition between n and n+1 747-400 flights on
> congested routes, as well as serving long thin routes.

The 777-200X, although larger than any likely 767 derivative, seems to be
the answer. With a longer range than the 747-400, it may even be used
for marginal 747-400 routes such as Sydney - Los Angeles or Singapore -
London. And with a better frequency too.