Date: 04 Jan 97 03:55:49 From: Chuanga@cris.com (H Andrew Chuang) Organization: Concentric Internet Services Followups: 1
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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.