Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Dreamliner Has Entered The Clean-up Phase

The airline market place has for the last five years been at a tug of war for wide body dominance. On one side is the 787 Dreamliner and on the side the A350 "knock-off-liner" (no name available at this time other than A350). Every airplane start-up must have phases it goes through as a simple requirement for all discussions. Therefore, phases for the 787 march towards airline supremacy must be list for any relevant discussion. 

Boeing's 787 Dreamliner five phases:

  • Shock and Awe
  • Conflagration
  • Customer ordering march to the Sea Change
  • Airbus counter "offensive"
  • Clean-up
The A350 (no name) Five stages 
  • Me too. Check
  • XWB by five inches. Check
  • Loyal Customer Ordering, Check
  • Offensive ramblings from John Leahy (running away this fall?) double check?
  • Build it slower and they will watch, Check

Jumping to bullet point five for each maker is where the industry finds itself today. The Boeing point is exemplified in the news today from a simple stage called, "Clean-up". This is a topic worthy of a whole article more than five pages long. Five pages long is beyond my pay grade. In order to go five pages one must use links for further reading.

Cleaning up the market is where Boeing is today. They have reach several marketing achievements in the last month. The Singapore Air deal added 19 787-10's and 20 777-9X's to its book and then another 30 AerCap 787-9's during a down year. The 70 wide body signed-on recently illustrates a solid clean-up during a down the market. On the other hand, Airbus nowhere came near Boeing in the last month wide body order onslaught it booked about 22 of its older A300 and its newer A350-900. It is building about 5 A350-9's a month. Airbus has delivered 30 A-350's this year compared with Boeing's 65 of its 787. The watching list of journalist keeps growing for the A-350 delivery flow.

Looking at the Air Travel article link above is an almost everyday story when Boeing makes a 787 delivery, a new route opens.


Boosting its European Dreamliner network, Etihad Airways will deploy its new Boeing 787-9 aircraft to fly to Amsterdam, starting September 1, and Madrid from October 1 from Abu Dhabi, UAE. The 787-9 will also operate seasonally to Athens during the summer months."

The whole article is full of Boeing product going out the door to various new route locations. Even though it doesn't often reveal the type or maker of aircraft within it article on new routes, it would take further analysis to sort out the clean-up of the sky ways by maker. Looking at the order book back end, determines future plans for routes and Boeing is having a statement year with its wide body sales. The ultra-expensive big bodied airplanes are tough to move with a $250-350 million asking prices for each frame.

The other bullet points echo’s the progression of the 787. The shock and Awe is the initial announcement of the Boeing Moonshot for all things not proven but anticipated. Conflagration is the flaming path to first flight, including the 7-7-07 roll out. The mounting order flow during the first three years after the announcement changed the aviation world. Airbus had to counter with the A350 even though it had previous stated Boeing essentially couldn't do it. Boeing currently mopping up wide body sales in a tough market.

The Airbus path is not as promising even though it didn't have well publicized difficulties as Boeing had. Airbus has second hand left-overs all the way with its dumb down technological infusions when compared with the Boeing offering.

The "Me Too" announcement three years after the Boeing's announcement was hypocritical after it had lambasted Boeing for the attempt at an all new wide body offering. Airbus started off on its left foot. It had to do something better, so it went bigger by five inches. In nine across sitting a passenger space increases by less than a 1/2" or if giving the aisle, brushing-off room by another 1/4" it’s not XWB at all as intended by its initial announcement.

Almost every buy order came from the Airbus customer order list. Where Boeing crossed the customer line more often in its order book since each framers offering was announced.

John Leahy couldn't ever let it go as he often railed on the Boeing product not being as wide as his XWB. He may retire this year leaving Airbus with big shoes to fill. Maybe all his complaints have lost its validity as more 787's are ordered every year and Airbus receives the left-overs for its order book.

Airbus is building the A-350 at a steady pace but slower than Boeing did during its first 30 months with it’s 787. Remember the battery fires, Boeing stopped delivery for two months and still got on track. Airbus has delivered only 30 this year after six months. Boeing with a well advanced product stream has delivered 65 787. It is important to note Boeing is currently building three different model types where Airbus is only producing its A350-900 and testing its A350-1000. Boeing is in testing with its 787-10.

I am sure the A350 is a good aircraft and better than prior models but it is not a great aircraft from its short comings reaching the technological goal post advancements. Boeing can now build upon solid ground from a formerly unproven concepts. Airbus refused to take chances with its A350. They used proven technologies that Boeing pioneered but it did not go beyond hydraulics or a central computing core system as Boeing had achieved. In time Airbus will have to catch-up to Boeing's proposals as customers are buying in the wide body market with approximately 37% A350 and 63% 787. This does not even include the 326 777X's booked or recent 777-300ER's.