Date: 03 Mar 98 03:12:45 From: Chuanga@cris.com (H Andrew Chuang) Organization: Concentric Internet Services Followups: 1 2 3
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During this year's Asian Aerospace Show (AA98), neither Airbus nor Boeing had announced a single order. The Asian Aerospace Show is the second largest trade show of its kind after the Paris Air Show. Both airframers have often used major air shows to announce significant orders and/or aircraft launches. For example, last year in Paris, Airbus announced the launch of the A340-500/600. For Boeing, the B757-300 was the last Boeing model launched at an air show; and that was nearly two years ago at Farnborough. Thus, it was uncharacteristically quiet at AA98 for the two airframers, especially Boeing. Before the AA98 show, I thought Boeing would at least announce new B717 customers at the show. I also thought Airbus would officially announce the Latin American orders of approximately 100 firm A320 family aircraft. Well, neither announcement took place. Both companies outlined future product plans, namely, the A3XX, AE31X, B777-200X, B747-400Y, etc. However, variants of these plans have been around for a while. So, IMHO, nothing really interesting came out from the airframers at the AA98 show. On the engine manufacturers' side, there were a few more activities at the show. Since GE's ambitious expansion into after-market business, all three major engine manufacturers (GE, P&W, and R-R) have been actively forming joint ventures with airline operators. Indeed, a number of Asian joint ventures were announced (or re-announced) at the show. (Interestingly, Boeing had earlier expressed its interest in the after-market business. However, Lufthansa warned Boeing not to compete with its own customers. Right now, Boeing is probably too busy in correcting its production problems. Hence, I have not heard too much about Boeing's after-market expansion.) The most interesting piece of news (related to large commercial aircraft/ engine) at the show was probably P&W's announcment of three new engine programs: the PW40XX (for the A340-500/600, B767-400, and B747 growth), the PW6000 (potentially for the AE31X and similar aircraft), and, most notably, the PW8000, a geared turbo fan intended for the A320 and possibly the B737. P&W's many mis-steps since the late 70s have resulted in drastical drops in market share. Last year, P&W had sold less new engines than R-R! Whether these new programs will bring back P&W's past prominence will remain to be seen. Nevertheless, it took almost a decade before the CFM56 found its success on the B737. Thus, it could be a long road to past glory for P&W.