Date: 29 Mar 98 23:09:28 From: Chuanga@cris.com (H Andrew Chuang) Organization: Concentric Internet Services References: 1 2 3 4 Followups: 1 2 3
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In article <airliners.1998.502@ohare.Chicago.COM>, Marc Schaeffer <email@example.com> wrote: >H Andrew Chuang wrote: >> For regional jets, technology and commonality may not be very important. > >I have to say that I don't -- fully -- agrre with this one. From a >maintenance, training and spare parts point of view it would be pretty >smart to have a certain commonality. Even in the regional jet market. >The first manufacturer to have a family of a/c will survive the battle. >I believe that two a/c are not a family (EMB135&145 and CRJ50&70). Three >should be the right number of members for a family ;) > >This is what makes the success of the 737 and the 320 familys in the >upper segment. (3 and in the near future 4 a/c for each family). Also >the DC9 had the same strategy to come to it's glory. Of course an a/c >needs to have other advantages, commonailty isn't everthing. When one talks about commonality, two things come to mind: 1. flight crew: with vastly different pay scales between pilots for major carriers and pilots for regional carriers, cockpit commonality has no value to most airline operators at all. 2. spare parts/maintenance: there are plenty examples of cost-conscious airlines with mixed fleet of similar planes (e.g., American's A300 and B767; Cathay's A330/340 and B777) and mixed engines (e.g., Delta's B767 with the CF6 and PW4000 engines; UPS's B757 with the RB.211 and PW2000). Furthermore, with more and more airlines outsourcing maintenance work, this should become less and less an issue. Cost is arguably the single biggest issue. That's why Boeing is trying to drive the B717 cost down and make it a viable competitor. However, it appears Boeing is unable to drive the price down to the target of around US$20mil per copy. OTOH, Airbus has not been able to reach to a concensus with the Chinese partner on the AE31X project. Boeing's acquisition of McDonnell Douglas suddenly provided Boeing with an entry into the 100-seat market. Instead of Boeing wondering whether they should design something to compete with the AE31X, the table is now turned and Airbus has to think seriously and promptly whether they can afford to let Boeing have a sizable lead, at least, chronologically. The A319M5, IMHO, is a very poor stop gap for Airbus. First of all, the plane was optimized for a much longer range and much higher capacity than the intended market of the A319M5. The plane must have extremely unattractive seat-mile cost. The A319 itself is probably already has a relatively high unit operating cost, that's why out of more than 1,500 A320 family aircraft ordered, less than 250 are for the baby bus. Historically, shortened planes have never sold well (the A330-200 may be an exception). Just look at the B737. The B737-100 had a terrible sales record. Similarly, only about 400 of nearly 2,000 second-generation B737s ordered are for the shortest B737-500. Also, the B737-600 is not doing well. It is commonly known that SAS's 41 -600s (nearly half of the -600 ordered) was heavily discounted. (Ironically, it was the SAS -600 order that practically took away any credibility of the MD-95 program for which SAS was originally anticipated to be the launch customer. Now, Boeing has to rebuild the credibility of the MD95/B717 program.) Secondly, how can Airbus drive the cost of the A319M5 low enough to be able to compete with the B717 or RJ100? Currently, there are four engines (the BR715, PW6000, CFM56, and V2500) competing to power the new plane. It does not appear any of these engines can meet both time and cost constraints. Thus, Airbus might have a hard time picking the right powerplant. Thirdly, Boeing has the Long Beach production line for a dedicated B717 production. Airbus has a surprisingly large backlog of nearly 900 A319/20/21s (almost as many as the B737 backlog). Airbus will have to increase the A319/20/21 production rate significantly (from the current rate of 18-20 planes per month) in order to cope with the burgeoning backlog. Will Airbus be able to accommodate additional production if the A319M5 is launched? (Nevertheless, neither the A319 nor A321, which are assembled in Hamburg, is a big seller. So, perhaps Hamburg has the capacity to handle the A319M5.) Lastly, if Airbus does launch the A319M5, the Chinese will be extremely upset. Due to a deteriorating relationship between China and the US between 1995 and 96, Airbus has made significant strides in the Chinese market. The launch of the A319M5 will no doubt hinder future Airbus campaigns in China. I'm not sure a potential of selling no more than 500 A319M5s is worth the risk of being shut out of the Chinese market in the future. >> The 767 has always be strong in the US and relatively weak in Asia and >> Europe. The 764 will not change this trend. Nevertheless, if AA also >> orders the 764, the 764 will have a very solid customer base, even though >> they are all US customers. > >What is your opinion, will the 763 be replaced mainly with the 764 or >the 332 ? Most of the 767-300 are still relatively new. Replacement market is probably insignificant at this time. The 767-400 and A330-200 are currently targeting the DC-10 and L-1011 replacement market, since some operators do not need the bigger B777 or A330. Nevertheless, I think the A330-200 should have a slight edge over the B767-400 in the long run.