Date: 18 Mar 97 03:14:48 From: Chuanga@cris.com (H Andrew Chuang) Organization: Concentric Internet Services Followups: 1 2 3 4
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A few days ago, I read a report in which a BA executive criticized Boeing for shelving plans to build superjumbos. Also, he suggested that Boeing should have a all-new superjumbo design instead of derivatives based on the 30-year-old B747 design. This is the first comment made by an airline that corroborated Airbus's assertion of airlines' disinterest in Boeing's derivative offerings. A few years back when Boeing launched the third-generation B737, I thought the "archaic" B737 could not be competitive. Thus, I am very impressed by the B737-600/700/800 sales. In three years, Boeing have already received orders for nearly 600 units of the next-generation B737, while Boeing is still getting a lot of orders for the B737-300/400/500. (About 1,100 units of the A319/320/321 have been ordered in a little less than 15 years.) IMHO, Boeing's derivative-based superjumbo did hurt Boeing's ability to secure enough early launch orders; airlines don't want to decide until they see what Airbus has. However, I doubt airline executives think Airbus will definitely have a better plane. Using some examples in the engine business to prove new designs are not always better. The IAE V2500 may have better fuel consumption than the CFM56, however, the maturity of the CFM56 engine still prove to be very important for the operators. The same thing (i.e., maturity) probably can be said about the PW4084 (vs. the GE90 and Trent 800 on the B777).