Re: Why a new super-jumbo isn't going to be built anytime soon.

Date:         15 Apr 97 12:56:43 
From:         malc@mci2000.com (Malcolm Weir)
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On 15 Apr 97 03:22:41 , matt@firstsol.com (matt weber) wrote:

Matt's analysis, speculation, and deductions on:

>    Why no new Super-Jumbo?

focus almost entirely on the commercial efficiency of a potential
aircraft, as measured in cost per seat mile/kilometer (and obviously
the cargo equivalent: ton(ne)-mile/km).

But... just as the computer industry evolved from hardware to software
driven (as Matt observes), so is the aviation industry facing a
similar transition.

The change here, though, is predicated on the fact that contemporary
aircraft are extremely efficient... BUT the realities of ground
handling are beginning to take their toll.

British Airways COO Dr. Alistair Cumming stated at a conference in LA
that "BA is committed to the need for larger aircraft than the 747
because of the approaching saturation point of airports and the
infrastructure.  Only one thing can help the industry grow in this
context, and that is larger aeroplanes.  The industry cries out for
more efficient use of flights and slots by the provision of larger
aircraft".

More data: two thirds of the current 747 fleet serve only 20 hubs, and
about 130 aircraft are on just 15 city-pairs.

It seems to me that the real unknown in the equation is whether the
growth of hub by-pass and point-to-point routes was a result of market
demand for such services, or a result of an inability to supply an
effective hub-and-spoke operation within the constraints of capacity
controller airports.

Cumming also remarked that BA was ready to be the launch customer for
the 747-600X, but that the latter stages of the Boeing development
plan showed increasing inferiority to the proposed cost structure of
an all-new, purpose built aircraft.

There was also speculation that the McD-D merger plans altered
Boeing's priorities, such that a new developmental large aircraft took
a lower priority to defence projects.

Meanwhile, Airbus (John Leahy) is claiming a 15% improvement potential
in direct operating costs for an A3XX (presumably, over the 747-400,
but who knows?), but won't have anything ready for service until the
end of 2003.  And for the next six years, I dare say Boeing will be
happy to sell 747-400s...

Malc.