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Civil Aviation Forum | ANA not happy with the 787
ANA are apparently not that happy with their 787s so far. They initially ordered a mix of 783s and 788s, the -300 version for regional and domestic flights. Due to that version being canned, they now operate the 788 version on their short and medium routes inside Japan and that region, and the economics so far are not good.
Due to the weight of the 787, with its large wings and higher than spec weight, the plane is apparently not as good as a bog-standard 767-300. It's an issue that they were expecting but at the same time is actually worse than the numbers they initially were looking at. Flying this longhaul optimised plane with additional structural weight is costing them more than the aircraft it is supposed to replace.
Maybe it's time to revisit the 787-300 concept once Boeing has some engineering capacity spare, and the additional weight needs to be cut for it to make money domestically for ANA and JAL. It also shows just how good at its job the 767-300 actually is despite being a 1980s design.
Rolls Royce have gotten to a better place with the engines, which is something. RR reckon Package C engines will be better than spec in the cruise and otherwise on spec. Some Trent XWB tech is to be cascaded back to the 787 motors. The current Package B is still about 1% off spec.
The 767 remains a plane to beat in the sector as it's skinnier and light, with two decades of dieting and upgrades. Those huge 787 wings are also a problem over shorter routes as it's a lot of unused fuel capacity to lift up (the A330 is exactly the same).
'The airplane uses 20 percent less fuel than today's similarly sized airplanes'
Assuming that orders have been mainly placed on a promised 20% fuel saving, there are going to be some very disappointed airlines as they take delivery of their shiny new machines, as we are already starting to see.
This is a huge discrepancy and I for one will be very surprised if Boeing can now get anywhere near the promised fuel saving. If they don't it could result in airlines claiming compensation or even cancelling orders.
This could play into Airbus's hands, providing they can come up with the goods.
If Boeing does what it's promising with the 777X Program then the A350 may hit some trouble of her own.
So far, Boeing is planning on making the 777's wings larger (out of composite materials). Carving out the interior of the airframe to increase width and decrease weight - they're also looking at getting new engines. The 777-300ER is a formidable aircraft to beat. The A350-1000 was supposed to put an end to it, yet it is still selling in vast numbers.
If Boeing improve her even more, then I find it very difficult to see how Airbus can get airlines to back the A350-1000.
Even the A350-800 is in doubt now and as Airbus talks about improving the A330-300, this plane might start to end the case of the A350-800 altogether. This would make the A350-900 the only interesting model, but that would be impacted by the 777-8X.
Boeing's Mike Bair recently made a comment that they are moving to put Airbus out of the widebody business. Whilst I doubt they could pull this off, the 787 and 777 are going to be strong aircraft to compete against in the future.
The 787-8 is highly likely to eventually meet weight and fuel burn targets and the 787-9 and 787-10 are just around the corner. Boeing hasn't launched the 787-10 yet, but Lufthansa have already said they would like to be the launch customer of this variant if it goes ahead (something which is likely to happen). Air France have also ordered the Boeing 787 recently.
Worrying times for Airbus I think.
It's more a medium range hauler with the same weights as the 787-9 but less fuel load. Maybe Emirates will be all over it once the final specs are out as the 787-10X would be an ideal plane to do Europe and the Middle East, but they do seem to be wedded to the A350-900 for that.
The A350-1000 isn't yet selling well but once the final specs and engine numbers come out it might gather momentum. Having to develop a larger engine to power it has been a major issue, as originally the throttle-push of the Trent XWB was supposed to be enough. It might be a problem too for Boeing as there is some doubt whether the GENx can be grown sufficiently in thrust for the 787-10X.
ANA will expect some teething trouble anyway as they are the launch customer. The old saying "shit happens" applies very much to airliner launches! Stuff not covered in testing crops up as thousands of sticky, bored kids get to mess with everything and test it to destruction. When PIA introduced the 777-300ER and 200LR the seat-back screens were regularly being wrecked by kids as the covering just wasn't strong enough. A plane load of bored brats is the ultimate test for any new airliner!!!
It will all get sorted out but for now those early 787s are being a little bit troublesome and a bit too thirsty compared to a reliable, rugged 767-300ER which is still a superb aircraft hence the hot market for used ones.
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