On Mon, 19 Oct 2009 02:22:42 -0400, JF Mezei
Post by JF Mezei
Some study says that Boeing and Airbus who currently hold about 88%
market share in the 100-200 pax market may see their market share drop
by half (to about 40%) because of new entrants such as Bombardier,
Embraer, the japanese, chinese and russians.
I remember a few years ago, the talk was about a new generation of
737/A320 by 2013. This study now puts the new generation in the "2020
decade", with both Airbus and Boeing updating the engines on their
737/320 in the meantime to stay current.
Another argument raised is that Boeing (and probably to a lesser extent
Airbus) had done technology transfers to chinee and japanese which may
come back to bite them as those are now going to use this knowledge to
build competing jets.
I have to wonder however how accurate this study is. When you look at
American Airlines, it seems to be upscaling to the 737 when replacing
its old MD80 fleet instead of going for a Cseries type aircraft. On the
other hand, AA isn't one to buy vapourware aircraft.
The great unknown in both the Cseries and the Mitsubishi products is
just how reliable will the Geared Turbo Fan be. Only the Russians have
a lot of experience with truly large gear boxes (10,000+ hp) on
turbine engines. New technology engines often have significant
durability and reliability issues. Great fuel economy doesn't do you
much good if MTBF only turns out to be 1000 hours.
Post by JF Mezei
While a C-series may be more efficient than a A318 or the 737-600, will
airlines really want to have a different aircraft type just for that
market size ?
The real question is total cost of ownership. The A318 and 737-600
have some attraction because of a very large installed based, and very
high parts commonality with other products in use in large numbers. So
adding them to the fleet isn't painful. However the ASM costs on
these aircraft leave a certain amount to be desired. Aircraft don't
gain a lot of OEW when you stretch them, by the same token, you don't
get much back when you shrink them.
The secondary issue is the components in those costs may be
significantly different in 2013 than they are in 2009. That problem
very nearly killed the A318 because the underlying assumptions in the
PW6000 engines went up in smoke with the rising price of oil. (The
PW6000 originally traded some fuel economy for maintenance cost
savings). When the price of oil went up, PW was forced to make major
changes in the engine, because the fuel economy/maintenance trade off
had become very unfavorable. The resulting delay meant that while the
A318 was supposed to only be available with the PW6000, most A318's
are in fact CFM56 equipped because that was the only way they could be
Post by JF Mezei
Perhaps Boeing and Airbus, seeing how the 110-130 market is behaving,
might decide to optimize the 737/320 for a 150-250 seat market
abandonning the smaller models alltogether. Or they my flex their
muscles and push the new guys out alltogether.
If Boeing/Airbus are really going to wait until after 2020, this may
give a chance for the Bombardier/Embraer/Mitsubishi and others to take
root and permanently take market share.
Depends upon where you think the market is going to be in 2020. My
guess is the biggest market is going to be for aircraft in the 150-200
seat range, essentially where the A321 and 737-900ER are today.
Both Airbus and Boeing engineering resources are fully committed right
now, and since both the A320 family and 737NG family have large
current backlogs, neither is under any great pressure to replace the
aircraft. Perhaps after the 787-10 is fully underway, there will be
available resources at Boeing, at Airbus, it will be after the
A350-1000 is fully underway. Either way, it is a few years into the
It also depends upon what both GE and RR do to improve SFC. The GTF is
the only engine that anyone is committed to produce at this point, it
isn't like the other players have nothing in the pipeline.
The big hurdle with the 100-120 seat aircraft is the economics. No
matter how good the airframe may be, the costs are going to be
skewered by the 'Scope Clause' in many pilot contracts. With the
staffing cost skewered, the costs of ownership are a problem. So don't
look for these aircraft to sell well unless the legacies can get some
relief from the Scope Clause.
Given those realities, both Boeing and Airbus may be prepared to cede
the below 130 seat market to the newcomers.
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