Asian Aerospace 98

Date:         03 Mar 98 03:12:45 
From: (H Andrew Chuang)
Organization: Concentric Internet Services
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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.