A340-600X ???

Date:         04 Jan 97 03:55:49 
From:         Chuanga@cris.com (H Andrew Chuang)
Organization: Concentric Internet Services
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I was reading the year-end issue of AvWeek.  Buried somewhere in the
analysis of the Boeing-McDonnell merger, it was reported that the
A340-600X (375 tri-class pax, 7,200 nm) has been put on hold
indefinitely.  IMHO, it's a sensible decision.  In the past ten years
or so, Boeing has received orders for 400 some B747-400s.  I don't see
any significant new customers on the horizon for this kind of aircraft,
nor do I see any compelling reasons for any major B747-400 operators
(other than Air France and Lufthansa ;-) ) to dump their relatively new
-400s for the A340-600X.  Moreover, the medium-range B777-300 is
probably a more ideal B747-100/-200 replacement than the long-range
A340-600X.

The proposed A340-500X (310 tri-class pax, 8,500 nm) and -600X were
going to share the same wing and the same engine.  Does it mean Airbus
will put the -500X on hold, too?  One thing that does not quite make
sense to me is why the A340 needs such a big boost in engine thrust
(from 34,500 lb of thrust per engine for the A340-300E to the lastest
engine proposal of 55-60,000 lb of thrust) to achieve 15% increase in
range (plus a few more seats) for the A340-500X, or 25% increase in
passenger seating for the A340-600X.

Since the signing of an exclusive engine study for the A340-600X between
Airbus and GE, GE has not made any firm commitment to go ahead with the
100K lb thrust GE90-100B.  As a result, P&W is still the only engine
manufacturer that offers an engine with more than 95K lb of thrust.
P&W's commitment to the highest thrust engine has paid off.  The
availability of the PW4098 engine has played a significant role in both
Korean Air's and Asiana's orders of the PW4000 family of engines for
their A330s and B777s (and, up to now, Asiana's fleet is powered
exclusively by GE/CFM engines).  A few years back, many doubted the
growth potential of the PW4000.  The GE90 was supposed to dominate the
high end of the B777 market.  Ironically, GE has yet to sign up a
customer to use the GE90 for the B777-300.  I wonder if GE will now make
a push for the GE90-100B since the A340-600X is put on hold.

I have updated my A330/340 vs. B777 page.  With the potential merger
between Boeing and McDonnell Douglas, I have decided against the idea
of including the MD-11.  The URL is

<http://www.cris.com/~chuanga/a330_b777.shtml>

Any corrections and comments are welcome.