Re: Singapore Airlines The A340 vs 777 saga continues

Date:         22 Jul 99 23:30:19 
From:         H Andrew Chuang <chuanga@cris.com>
Organization: Concentric Internet Services
References:   1 2
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Pardave Lehry wrote:
> The aircraft may be overweight by 6.5 metric tonnes, but Airbus can no doubt
> shave those off very easily and quickly.

Don't be so sure.  The A340-300E is 8 metric tons more heavier than
originally planned (275 vs. 267).

> Yes, they
> may have problems such as blades cracking (General Electric GE-90), but
> Rolls Royce has learnt their lesson to trust the titanium blades for their
> first stage fan after the saga that occured with the RB211 for the L1011.

Composite material technology has matured significantly since the
late '60s when R-R first developed a composite fan for the RB211.

> Even if SIA were to refuse delivery, I'm sure there are other airlines out
> there that would take those airplanes faster than Boeing's surplus of
> cancelled orders from Asian carriers sitting in Phoenix.

I don't believe there are that many new Boeings in the desert or
at Boeing's site.  At the peak, there were some 30-plus unsold Boeing
planes, but I believe most, if not all, have been placed with other
carriers.

> Speaking of Asian
> carriers, I'm just curious why they have cancelled their Boeing orders and
> not their Airbus orders.  Korean Airlines is the only airline that has
> cancelled all of their orders.

Who told you that there weren't cancelled Airbus orders?  Asiana,
Korean, ANA, Garuda, Thai, Singapore, Cathay etc., all had cancelled
or deferred Airbus orders.  You heard more about cancellations of
Boeing orders, because Boeing has a larger share of widebody market
in East Asia.  Thus, they are more vulnerable.

> The blame of headroom and more space in the cabin should not be placed on
> Airbus.  When an airline orders an aircraft from Airbus or for that matter,
> Boeing, they specify what the interior should be like.  Each airliner that
> comes of the assembly line from Seattle and Toulouse are different because
> each airline specifies a different configuration.

While a lot of interior fixtures are airline specific.  Headroom
is aircraft specific.

> The A340 has a maximum cruising altitude of 39,000 feet.  The Boeing 747 has
> a cruising altitude of 37,000 feet.  Both aircraft have a maximum altitude
> of 41,000 feet.  So whether the A340 will clear the bad weather or not is
> cause for concern.

Maybe not to you.  It's a concern for many airlines.

> Why Airbus seemed to go with CFMI's CFM-56 engines for
> the A340 is still unclear to me.

Because Airbus designed the A340 to require engines of that thrust
class.

>  Those engines have a thrust rating of
> something like 34,000 pounds, which is why it takes forever for the A340 to
> climb to cruise altitude and then get to its destination.  It would be a
> wise decision on behalf of Airbus to go with a much more powerful engine,
> something like the PW4000 series, which is the same engine found on the
> 767's.

The PW2000 and RB.211-535 (on the B757) were probably good
candidates.  But they were too heavy for Airbus's requirements at
that time.  Lufthansa was very interested in a SuperFan version of
the V2500.  But P&W said the technology was not ready at the time.