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Old 10-10-2005, 01:21 PM
Sir James
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Joined APC: Feb 2005
Position: 737 CFI
Posts: 390
Default Boeing ridicules A350

So Airbus has officially launched the A350. Nobody should be at all surprised. Well, maybe there is one surprising aspect to all this. The fact that it took them so long to respond to the 787.

I suppose 23 airlines signing up for 273 Dreamliners finally got their attention.

But now that they've woken up, they still haven't got it right. I say that because, despite the four or five times they've changed this airplane over the last nine months, the A350 still falls short.

Is this really an "all-new" airplane? I don't think so. At its heart, the A350 is still an A330 derivative. That's why the A350-800, for instance, is less efficient than the 787-8 in fuel consumption, and falls short in maintenance, passenger comfort, and cabin environment.

In comparison with the 777-200ER, the A350-900 is 12% smaller (by at least 20 seats), has less range, and less cabin appeal. And side-by-side with the 787-9, the Airbus offering has less range, a less appealing cabin environment, and higher fuel consumption and operating costs.

Airbus does have one thing right. The A350 is an endorsement of Boeing's philosophy of using efficient twin-engines for long-range flight. The problem for Airbus is, by adopting our approach, they're abandoning their own deep, long-held, but mistaken, view - that four engines were required for long-haul routes. Now, their strategy is in disarray. 4 engines for too long, you might say!

But the real test here is the marketplace. And as I mentioned, as of this week, Boeing has orders and commitments for 273 Dreamliners from 23 customers. 191 of those orders (from 18 customers) came in after Airbus first detailed the A350 last December 10. The response to the 787 is like nothing we've ever seen so early in a program.

The bottom line is, the A350, as a derivative, basically obsoletes the A330 and the A340. It leaves Airbus with just two derivative airplanes with 240-280 seats, while still falling short of what Boeing has to offer.

We offer four sizes of 787 and 777 airplanes between 200 and 400 seats, with twin-engine reliability and efficiency. We've got the choices airlines want for flexibility and performance. And our airplanes are the preference of passengers around the world. In other words, we're providing what airlines and passengers want.

Now, you'll also be hearing a lot about subsidies and launch aid in connection with the A350, and rightfully so. It's interesting that Airbus executives have said for months that they don't need launch aid to develop the A350. Yet their announcement yesterday amounts to Airbus partner governments committing to launch aid once again. And you know what? That's no surprise either.
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