Re: Singapore Airlines The A340 vs 777 saga continues

Date:         22 Jul 99 23:30:23 
From:         "Tim Lee" <>
Organization: BT Internet
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Hang on a minute, James!

James Matthew Weber wrote in message ...
>It's been reported that the aircraft is currently 6.5 metric tonnes
>overweight, which puts it about 400nm short of the range requirement.
>The problem may well be worse than that. The A340-500 has a new
>engine, the RR Trent 500, and industry experience is that new engines
>rarely make fuel guarantees 'out of the box'.

Frankly, 6.5 tons is not a huge amount - not at this stage of
development, anyway. Believe me, more was shaved off the A340-200 before
EIS...  and RR have never delivered an engine that doesn't do as
advertised.  Especially in reliability terms - go ask BA what they think
of the GE90 on 777 - they love it so much that they are dumping it in
favour of Trent on the new order.

>SQ customers are apparently not all that happy with the A340 cabin.
>They want more headroom, and more space (cabin width). While Airbus
>likes to advertise there is no center seat (and there isn't one), it
>turns out to be largely an academic exercise in the Business class
>cabin. The middle seat in a 777 or 747 is only filled if the cabin is
>more than 80% full. Not a very common event.

Well, it's pretty common on most other airlines - I was on a BA744 the
other day, and people were being bumped out of Club World into First.
Also, the A340 cabin consistently beats the Boeing products every time
in all classes of service on every independent survey I've ever seen!

>According to the article, SQ customers are willing to take their
>chances with center seat to get the additional cabin width and
>headroom the 777 and 747 offer (and remember SQ operates all 3 types,
>so the issue isn't the service, or the seats themselves, it is
>obviously something about the aircraft itself)..
>According to SQ management, the premium customers are also keenly
>interested in getting to the destination as quickly as possible, and
>are complaining about the A340's cruise speed. Whether it is true, or
>SQ is saying it to turn up the heat on Airbus is hard to say. It is
>certainly true that the trip to Europe in an A340 from Singapore will
>take longer than it will in a 777 or a 747...

This strikes me as a negotiating ploy - I would guess that SQ are
holding out for some sort of deal - either a discount on their existing
order, or a good buy from AI on the next - so they are making AI work a
bit.  Happens all the time!

>The run to Europe from Singapore in an A340 is nearly an hour longer
>than it is in a 747, or a 777.  It is extra travel time, and it
>complicates connections within Europe.

The 747 is a quick aircraft, but I doubt this is true for the 777, which
has a stated cruise of 30kts less than A340.

>Airbus Aircraft are traditionally not 'high flyers'. This is also
>causing SQ a certain amount of pain. Flights to Europe generally
>depart in the late afternoon and early evening, and are at or very
>near MGTOW.  The trip goes out of over the Bay of Bengal, which often
>has nasty weather (thunderstorms) in the early evening. Very bluntly,
>at high weights, the 777 and the 747's can fly a lot higher, giving
>the crew more choices about how to avoid weather (and provide a better
>ride for the passengers).

Prove this one, please!  AI aircraft have a similar climb rate to the
777, and the 747 climb performance can be dismal...  Also, no-one can
convince me that any aircraft in commercial use can climb over a cu-nim
cloud - they can peak at over 60,000ft.....

>The other operational issue is the routes from SE Asia go over India
>on the way to Europe or the Middle East. A300/A310's are very popular
>regional aircraft often transiting India on the way to or from the
>Middle East or destinations on the sub continent, couple that with the
>normal long haul traffic out of SE Asia , and it tends to make the
>altitudes where these aircraft live very congested, so unless you are
>lucky, or can fly above FL350, (which is very hard to do in an Airbus
>at realistic operating weight), you may well get shoved down at a very
>unattractive altitude, like FL260.

AI products do this without problem - VS toc is typically 39,000 on the
HKG-LHR with a 340.

Do we work for Boeing by any chance?