Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Seeking Alphas Part II the 777-8X Beats the A350-1000 Too

Earlier on December 14, 2014 I laid out the Seeking Alpha thesis on the A-350 where it won't cut it against the 777X members either in load with the 777X-9 or in Range in the 777X-8 Here is the Not forgotten but long waiting part two from:

Long only, airlines, industrials, aerospace


  • Stretched version of the Airbus A350-1000 will not be able to efficiently compete with 777X.
  • Airlines favour 777-9X over Airbus A350-1000.
  • Boeing 777-8X is unreachable ultra-long range aircraft.
In my previous articles I compared the Airbus [(OTCPK:EADSF) (OTCPK:EADSY)] A350-1000 with the Boeing (NYSE:BA) 777X and concluded that the 777X is the better and more efficient aircraft.
When the Airbus A350-1000 will enter service it will probably be the most efficient aircraft in the skies.
Boeing's reply to the Airbus A350-1000 came in the form of the Boeing 777X, and Airbus does not seem to have an answer to that.
In order to compete with the Boeing 777X, Airbus might decide to bring the Airbus A350-1100, a stretch of the Airbus A350-1000. Airbus stated that its first priority is to optimize the Airbus A350-1000 and after that look at possible stretched version of the Airbus A350.
In this article I will explain why the Airbus A350-1100 will not change anything for the success Airbus A350 family.
First of all it is important to look at how the A350-1000 and Boeing 777-8X are placed in the payload-range diagram:
Figure 1: Payload-range diagram Airbus A350-1000 and Boeing 777X (Source: Dhierin-Perkash Bechai)
When looking at the payload-range diagram it is important to recognize the differences.
Differences Boeing 777-9X and Airbus A350-1000: The Boeing 777-9X transports up to 50 passengers more and has a range that is about 200 nm greater.
Differences Boeing 777-8X and Airbus A350-1000: The Boeing 777-8X transports up to 3 passengers more and has a range that is about 1300 nm greater.
Looking at the differences it can be concluded that the Airbus A350-1000 is being squeezed by the members of the Boeing 777X.
What a stretch of the Airbus A350-1000 means:
  • Higher capacity
  • Lower range
  • Added structural weight
In order to match the capacity of Boeing 777-9X, Airbus can decide to stretch the airframe. The addition of structural weight (for the added frames and sizing needed for the wings) as well as increase in payload will considerably decrease the range of a possible Airbus A350-1100.
In order to match the range of the Boeing 777-8X, Airbus might decide to seat slightly less passengers in the Airbus A350-1000 and try to increase fuel capacity. Probably a stretch is needed to increase space for fuel tanks which basically means that Airbus cannot compete with the Boeing 777-8X.
So a stretched version only is able to compete with the Boeing 777-9X in terms of capacity, but will lack the range capability of the Boeing 777-9X. The Trent XWB engines are probably maxed out, and there is very little to squeeze out of it to increase range.
So even if Airbus comes up with the Airbus A350-1100 it will not be able to compete with the upcoming Boeing 777X, a stretch of an already stretched aircraft simply will not be as efficient.
What could be a possibility is stretching the airframe to increase capacity and place a significantly more efficient engine on the Airbus A350 to increase the range.
Order numbers also show that the Boeing 777X is favored over the Airbus A350-1000:
Table 1: Order numbers medium wide body members
As can be seen few airlines are buying the Boeing 777-8X that will be the ultra-long range leader, but airlines are favoring the Boeing 777-9X that has higher capacity over the Airbus A350-1000.
It can be concluded that with the Airbus A350 Airbus did not plan ahead but merely came up with a product to compete with the current 777 product line that is already a decade old.
One can also question the strength of the A350 as an aircraft family:
  • The Airbus A350-800 probably will be canned (existing orders will be converted to orders for the A350-900 or the A330neo).
  • The Airbus A350-1000 has not received any orders in a year now
  • Since the launch of the Boeing 777X, Airbus only received 3 orders for the Airbus A350-1000
  • Only the Airbus A350-900 has decent order numbers and inflow


Airbus certainly failed in predicting or anticipating future competitors on the market. They came up with the Airbus A350, which is a perfect competitor for the current 777 but cannot compete with the Boeing 777X. The Airbus A350 is too small to compete with the upcoming Boeing counterparts. This might mean that Boeing will be leading the lucrative medium-wide-body sector.
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