Re: A340-500X/600X and B777-200X/300X [long]

Date:         15 Apr 97 03:22:40 
From:         Alan Wong <Alan.Wong@anu.edu.au>
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H Andrew Chuang wrote:
> IMHO, the A340-600X is not an attractive alternative for airlines.
> Many airlines, especially those in East Asia, have been stuck with the
> long-range B747 for regional flights (such as Tokyo-Seoul,
> Taipei-Hong Kong, Singapore-Hong Kong, etc.) because the B747 is the
> only high-capacity plane available.  However, with the baseline
> B777-300, airlines no longer need the four-engine 747 for regional
> services.  Furthermore, with dedicated regional aircraft like the
> B777-300, operators can configure their aircraft accordingly.  Thus,
> a B777-300 with regional seating configuration means more seats (hence,
> more revenue) than a B747-400 with long-haul configuration.

Don't forget that many flights from Europe to Asia arrive in Asia in the
morning and don't leave for Europe until very late at night. In between the
aircraft (usually a 747-400) can do a regional run or two. Even if it is not
the optimised for a regional flight (in that it has seats configured for
long-haul operations), the fact that the aircraft is available justifies its
use for these regional flights.

Older 747s tend to be dedicated regional aircraft in Asia and these are often
configured as such. These are the planes that airlines such as Cathay and
Singapore are replacing with 777s.

> If the
> B777-300X is launched, the new aircraft can be used to replace the B747
> on routes like London-San Francisco, Tokyo-Sydney, etc.  At this time, I
> simply can't see the A340-600X take any significant market share away
> from Boeing because most of the B747-400s are still relatively new.  With
> nearly 200 B747-400s still on order, the Boeing Jumbo line is still very
> strong.  The slight range advantage that the A340-600X has over the
> B747-400, Boeing seems to be ready to answer it with a proposed
> B747-400IGW which will have even longer range capability than Airbus's
> offer.

> I can't really see how the A340-500X/600X can be a successful program.
> Perhaps that's why GE was not interested in the exclusive engine deal.
> The B777-200X/A340-500X market is probably not that big.  Thus, my guess
> is that Airbus would have to rely more on the -600X sales than the -500X.
> However, I doubt the A340-600X has enough technical and financial merits
> to set itself apart from the, albeit 30-year old, B747.  Well, with the
> A340-600, Lufthansa will be a step closer to having an all-Airbus
> fleet.  ;-)

I too don't think A340-500X/600X will be launched. Anyone who has a need for
a 400 seat or long range plane already has 747-400s. They are not likely to
change over to A340s unless it offers significantly lower operating costs
(which is unlikely for the time being). The extra range of the A340-500X/600X
is not that significant. The 747-400 already can fly many of the cities
pairs. Longer range aircraft will open up a few more city pairs, but not that
many more and certainly not as many as were opened up when the 747-400 was
introduced. The A340-500X/600X will thus be attractive only to airlines that
don't currently operate 747-400s, but are interested in starting up long
range operations. There are very few such airlines and the number of orders
they will bring will not be enough for a successful program.