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Old 05-18-2007, 08:26 AM   #1
JBM
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Default ATW: US Airways targets Paris Air Show long-haul announcement

Air Transport World reports US Airways "hopes" to make its long-awaited long-haul fleet decision "in the next few weeks," which would allow the carrier to announce its order for around 20 aircraft at next month's Paris Air Show.

The article claims that US Airways may announce they will stick with the A350XWB. Senior VP-Planning Andrew Nocella estimates that A350 deliveries could be expected to start in 2013 while "mass production [of the 787] for a new client would probably be 2012 and beyond." He said US could lease "a few" 787s in the 2010-11 period and is "in the marketplace" to lease used aircraft to fill the intervening capacity gap. "The 787 at this stage is only about 18-24 months ahead of Airbus, where it used to be much more," he said. "As time goes on, the gap obviously closes."

See http://www.atwonline.com/news/story.html?storyID=8923

If Nocella's estimates are correct, Airbus could be making some serious inroads. On the other hand, if he is getting fed "best-hoped-for" scenarios (as opposed to "best case" scenarios) from Airbus, they may be sorely disappointed.

Also, by stating that mass production of the 787 "for a new client" would put US Airways down the chart, that should not be taken as a knock against Boeing. That might mean US Airways doesn't have that many or any slots in the 787 production line...and whose fault is that? They didn't come to the table early enough and bet that the A350XWB would be available sooner rather than later.
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Old 05-18-2007, 11:49 AM   #2
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The statements may be true, but then again, they may be posturing, or both.

Here's where I have a lot of suspicion about Nocella's comment. It is true that at this time Airbus estimates that the first A350's will roll off the production line in 2013. Of course, that's only true if there is no repeat of the A380 fiasco, and if the A380 woes can be fixed soon, since many of the A350 people are currently working on the A380. Many industry experts are expecting the 2013 date to slide to 2014, and if the A380's woes persist to possibly slide to early 2015. Nocella is more than aware of this situation, but is only using Airbus' best case senarios.

Nocella talks about leasing some 787's in the 2010-2011 time period. I think that's pie in the sky. More likely, if US decides to go short term lease, he'll only find A330's available (because they're being replaced with 787's. No one is going to have 787's available for him to lease, especially short term.

He is right about one thing. "As time goes on, the gap obviously closes." It will close because at this point there are virtually no orders for the A350, so the first few orders will come out quickly for this plane, once production starts.

US Air has a grudge against Boeing. Everyone knows it. This is all from that.

At this point, I think the US Air grudge has probably won the day for Airbus, over US Air's better judgment. Waiting to the Paris airshow to announce the order would be a big deal for Airbus, making the announcement in their home court, so to speak. I think US Air may rue the day they make that announcement for Airbus, if they go that way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBM View Post
Air Transport World reports US Airways "hopes" to make its long-awaited long-haul fleet decision "in the next few weeks," which would allow the carrier to announce its order for around 20 aircraft at next month's Paris Air Show.

The article claims that US Airways may announce they will stick with the A350XWB. Senior VP-Planning Andrew Nocella estimates that A350 deliveries could be expected to start in 2013 while "mass production [of the 787] for a new client would probably be 2012 and beyond." He said US could lease "a few" 787s in the 2010-11 period and is "in the marketplace" to lease used aircraft to fill the intervening capacity gap. "The 787 at this stage is only about 18-24 months ahead of Airbus, where it used to be much more," he said. "As time goes on, the gap obviously closes."

See http://www.atwonline.com/news/story.html?storyID=8923

If Nocella's estimates are correct, Airbus could be making some serious inroads. On the other hand, if he is getting fed "best-hoped-for" scenarios (as opposed to "best case" scenarios) from Airbus, they may be sorely disappointed.

Also, by stating that mass production of the 787 "for a new client" would put US Airways down the chart, that should not be taken as a knock against Boeing. That might mean US Airways doesn't have that many or any slots in the 787 production line...and whose fault is that? They didn't come to the table early enough and bet that the A350XWB would be available sooner rather than later.
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Old 05-18-2007, 02:15 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ned View Post
The statements may be true, but then again, they may be posturing, or both.

Here's where I have a lot of suspicion about Nocella's comment. It is true that at this time Airbus estimates that the first A350's will roll off the production line in 2013. Of course, that's only true if there is no repeat of the A380 fiasco, and if the A380 woes can be fixed soon, since many of the A350 people are currently working on the A380. Many industry experts are expecting the 2013 date to slide to 2014, and if the A380's woes persist to possibly slide to early 2015. Nocella is more than aware of this situation, but is only using Airbus' best case senarios.
I was trying to be diplomatic and even-handed with my assessment. ;-) But Ned pretty much says what I was thinking! As Ned is a platinum US Airways Divident Miles flyer, he has a unique perspective, not to mention a stake in what the airline does or doesn't do.

Nocella talks about the 787 in terms of being a new client, not as an airline that has some early delivery slots. That may mean that some of those "undisclosed" 787 slots may not belong to US Airways. US Airways may be "negotiating in public" to lobby for more early delivery slots for the 787.

I didn't exactly overlook this, but my brother-in-law sent me some copies of China Daily (the national English-language newspaper in China) from his March trip, and I just got around to reading it upon my return from my "day job." It appears Airbus is offering China a chance to participate in the A350XWB program with a 5% share of outsourced airframe design and manufacturing to the new Airbus joint-venture engineering center in Beijing. According to China Daily, the ownership of said engineering center is:
  • Airbus: 70%
  • China Aviation Industry Corp. I: 25%
  • China Aviation Industry Corp. II: 5%
AVIC I and II already produce some 787 components, including composite rudders and wing-to-body fairing panels. But clearly, Airbus is looking not just to China for expertise or cheap manufacturing, but also to their growing airline market. If they really do go ahead with the A350XWB--and I'm not totally convinced that they will (i.e., if the A350 project is so hopelessly behind it won't have a chance of making money, they may just say "the heck with it" and pump their resources into the next-gen A320-series)--they may be looking at China as a client as well as a partner to save the program.

Quote:
He is right about one thing. "As time goes on, the gap obviously closes." It will close because at this point there are virtually no orders for the A350, so the first few orders will come out quickly for this plane, once production starts...
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Old 05-18-2007, 03:19 PM   #4
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JBM, I have no idea about whether or not the A350 will or will not make money. It's way to early to tell. I do think it will be extremely difficult for Airbus to make money on the A380 and that is already and will put a considerable strain on Airbus.

As to China, there needs for wide bodies purchased from foreign sources will be high, however, when it comes to narrow bodies, I don't think the same will be so. It's a whole lot easier to design and manufacture competent narrow bodies. I believe China intends to be manufacture narrow bodies, first for their own use sometime between 2016 and 2020. Therefore, were I Airbus, who right now has a strangle hold on the world wide, larger than 100 passenger, narrow body plane, I'd really be worrying.

By the way, two more things. First, I do think that Airbus will be going ahead with the A350, to at least save face. Second, in addition to having a "stake" in US Airways, with regard to planes, their production and design, I know many at Boeing, and many aerospace engineers, as well, there and at other companies too. I have other contacts in the industry too.
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