Monday, February 27, 2017

The 787-300 Redux

Boeing could regroup its plan for the 787 family now that the 787-ten reaches its production threshold. The failure was pushing a middle of the market wide body because Japan ordered it. There was no salient business supporting a 5,000 Km 290 passenger aircraft. There is still no need for such a configuration.

Wikipedia small reference note:
“The -3 was going to be the smallest and would have the shortest 
range at about 5000 km, and would fly about 290 people. It would have replace the Boeing 747-400D (the D stands for domestic, which means flights that take-off and land in the same country) that was used by two Japanese airlines. At first these Japanese airlines had ordered the 787-3, but since the plane was late the airlines cancelled their orders. This made Boeing stop making the 787-3.

Rethinking the cancelation of the 787-300 has made a full circle since 2010, when it was expelled as part of the family of 787’s. After much consideration a new formulation for the 787-300 should be on the table. The A321-NEO is the guide on for such a discussion after airbus has taken in about 1,400 such orders since the 757 ceased production.

Building it with a smaller barrel diameter for the fuselage and reconfiguring an engine matching is weight and size would be an academic exercise and not ground breaking. The cost of bringing one of these would sink a few billion dollars but would also kill the A-321-NEO single aisle dominance.

A down sized body would fit going seven across as a dual aisle. Eliminating two seats per row from a 18 foot wide 787-8 could shrink the 787-300 fuselage by about three feet. Seven times 34 rows is 238 passengers, beating the A-321 by a long shot. The A-321 NEO asking price is 115 Million. A Boeing 787-300 with its 240 seats beats the A321-NEO’s 185 seats by 55 paying seats. Weights of aircraft and capacity for each would make a 787-300 an attractive option in higher density markets.

Image result for 2 3 2 seating plan

The A-321 at 206,000 lbs vs 500,00lbs for the 787-800 could compete with a trimmed 787-300 would have considerably less weight counting its fuel and reduced frame size and engine configuration. It could come in at around 330,000 lbs fully loaded and have an empty weight of around 280,000 lbs. However with its expanded number seats it works out at around 1,300 lbs per seat of aircraft weight, for both Airbus and Boeing given these assumptions.

The range and passenger differences favor a right sized 787-300 over any single aisle proposed today. Boeing could sell about 1,000 or more of lightly configured 787-300’s in the near term. The market place has changed since the cancellation of the original 787-300 in 2010.