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  • EasyJet: Re-engining A320 not good enough

    “If the CSeries does what it is supposed do, then a re- engined 737NG or A320 isn’t a good enough response,” said Hal Calamvokis, strategic planning manager at EasyJet Plc, which flies mainly Airbus A319s.
    Wow. I haven't heard any airline executive say something like that before.

    If Montreal-based Bombardier stretches the CSeries and expands its seating to accommodate about 165 passengers, its range would decrease and the aircraft might work for EasyJet.

    “At that point, we’d definitely have to do a full evaluation,” Calamvokis said
    http://www.businessweek.com/news/201...de-choice.html

    Very interesting. There seems to be a lot of negativity surrounding a re-engined 737 or A320. Apparently even people in Airbus are saying why bother? The A320 is already a best-seller.

    I'm seriously on the fence with this topic and there seems to be a new article about it coming out every other day. Confusing!

  • #2
    I think airline exec's are remembering fondly the old days where there may have been a choice of 3 or 4 different airframes from a similar number of competing manufacturers. At the moment, Airbus and Boeing have the market 'sewn up', they have a cosy little duopoly - intentional or not. Their aircraft are still profitable, and quite comparable in operating economics I'd suspect - thus the big two (the only two) are fat and happy and unlikely to change or innovate.

    These comments in the past would have spurred a competitor like Douglas to build a new 'state of the art' airframe, or had Convair/BAC/Dassault at least sketching a competitor - this would mean that Boeing or Airbus would need to examine something more radical than a re-engining of essentially 20 and 40 year old airframes (yes, yes, I know there have been incremental improvements in this time).

    That's why I think we are seeing these comments - look at the innovation and progress from the end of the second world war to say 1960 - a 15 year period that saw travel go from DC4's to 707's. 1960's-1980's - smaller jets to replace pistons, turbofans replacing turbojets, 747's, Supersonic transatlatic travel. 80's to 2010..... Ummmm A380? and a stretched 747 (not yet in service) and the end of the Concorde (yawn).

    If we'd kept the same rate of innovation we'd be watching the first flight of the first hypersonic airliner with a 3 hour London to Sydney direct capability.

    I see it as an attemp to push the only two (or encourage Embraer/Rekkoff/China) to get in a design a gamechanging 737 competitor.

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    • #3
      not that i know squat about this, but i'll take a stab at commenting...my 2 cents of you will.

      no surprise whatsoever. why would any big business voluntarily spend huge sums on designing a completely new concept when they can continue to sell yesteryear's technology because it is "ok"?

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      • #4
        http://www.easyjet.com/en/News/easyjet_ecojet.html



        However as a manufacturer I would not yet built such a plane, as before you can go ahead with such a program you would need the authorities and airlines to agree on it. A open rotor design is a little slower and little louder then a comparable ducted-fan design, while offering better fuel efficiency. Before you would start working on a open-rotor design, you must know that the demands for silent jets won´t increase to a level an open-rotor would be hard pressed to match. And you must know that airlines will accept the slower cruise speed.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by SYDCBRWOD View Post
          I think airline exec's are remembering fondly the old days where there may have been a choice of 3 or 4 different airframes from a similar number of competing manufacturers.....
          One can foresee a reversion to that kind of situation, however, given the likelihood in the next decade of competition from coming new products in the 100-180 seat market built by the Brazilians, the Canadians, the Chinese and the Russians. The days of the cosy Airbus/Boeing duopoly in the narrow body market are numbered, I think, plus there are also likely to be new types of propulsion being perfected, eg. PW's geared turbofan technology.

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          • #6
            1980ies to 2010 major achievements is amazing, B777/A340 with no fatal accidents,
            A380 and the An-225 in cargo as well.
            As for duopoly, Irkut MS-21 is the competitor right now with the GTF engine and same size
            as the B737/A320. It´ll exciting to see who´re interested.
            "The real CEO of the 787 project is named Potemkin"

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Alessandro View Post
              1980ies to 2010 major achievements is amazing, B777/A340 with no fatal accidents,
              A380 and the An-225 in cargo as well.
              As for duopoly, Irkut MS-21 is the competitor right now with the GTF engine and same size
              as the B737/A320. It´ll exciting to see who´re interested.
              First deliveries in 2016....And that's if everything goes as planned. Recent aircraft designs have slipped anything up to 4 years behind schedule, so in service around 2019-2020. And another few years before production ramps up to serious levels. This from a Russian manufacturer (nothing wrong with that) that does not have a track record (yes, I know the companies that make up Irkut have plenty, but not all have produced commercial aircraft), so a risk for airlines to adopt.

              My guess - Airbus and Boeing will scratch themselves sometime around the middle of next year, stick something under the wing of their existing designs that will give them another 10% improvement by 2014, then start planning a replacement that will trump the MS-21 to arrive in 2022. Airlines will be tossing up between an unproven design from a manufacturer with no pedigree in 2020, or the promise of a better design from the two established big players promised around 2 years later. Bzzzt, MS-21 you lose (unfortunately). That's commercial reality - if I were buying for a big airline with shareholders the Irkut is not a gamble I would be taking with my shareholders money. Maybe the MS-21 will become a success, but like Embraer, it won't happen overnight.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by djarfur View Post
                Quote:
                “If the CSeries does what it is supposed do, then a re- engined 737NG or A320 isn’t a good enough response,” said Hal Calamvokis, strategic planning manager at EasyJet Plc, which flies mainly Airbus A319s.

                Wow. I haven't heard any airline executive say something like that before.
                Not entirely true. This is exactly what ILFC, GECAS, Singapore Airlines and Emirates execs said publicly when Airbus came up with their first A350 design (which was derived from A330).

                Quote from ILFC CEO: "a Band-aid reaction to the 787", "to bring a clean-sheet design to the table, or risk losing most of the market to Boeing"

                Quote from SQ CEO during the airline's 787/A350 selection process: "...having gone to the trouble of designing a new wing, tail, cockpit...and adding advanced new materials, Airbus should have gone the whole hog and designed a new fuselage."

                And Singapore Airlines followed up later with an order of 787 after Airbus ignored its advice.

                Of course, after "punished" by customers, Airbus came clean with the renewed A350XWB design and was immediately rewarded with an order of 20 A350XWBs by Singapore Airlines.

                CSeries and potentially the Japanese MRJ is becoming serious competitors for the 737-600, -700, A318 and A319. But they are too small to compete with the high end of Boeing and Airbus narrow body series. A wild card here is the C919, which will come online a while later. There will for sure be resistance from Western carrier to buy this Chinese product. We will need to see what COMAC can come up with.
                Next:
                None Planned

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                • #9
                  If I were Easyjet, I wouldn't bother with talking about Boeing's & Airbus's prolonged decision of whether to re-engine the B737 & A320 or come out with a new product. They are like most other airlines, complaining to Boeing/Airbus but willing to wait and see what replacement they both issue out for the B737 and A320. Add the fact that Bombardier has only gotten 90 orders of the C-Series, everyone is waiting to see how the C-Series performs and what Boeing and Airbus comes out with.

                  This is all about timing. Boeing and Airbus probally have something on the books as for replacing the B737 and A320 but they're just probally waiting for the right time to release it. Why come out now with something new and affect the product that have brought them countless amounts money.
                  what ever happens......happens

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by CathayPacific View Post
                    Not entirely true. This is exactly what ILFC, GECAS, Singapore Airlines and Emirates execs said publicly when Airbus came up with their first A350 design (which was derived from A330).

                    CSeries and potentially the Japanese MRJ is becoming serious competitors for the 737-600, -700, A318 and A319. But they are too small to compete with the high end of Boeing and Airbus narrow body series. A wild card here is the C919, which will come online a while later. There will for sure be resistance from Western carrier to buy this Chinese product. We will need to see what COMAC can come up with.
                    I didn't say that an airline executive had never said something like that before. I said that I personally had never heard an airline executive say something like that. Interesting to read about those reactions at Singapore though.

                    I agree that the CSeries and MRJ are great designs but with only 90 and 65 firm orders (did Trans States even firm up their LOI for the MRJ yet?) they're both kind of in limbo and just slowly starting to make their way out.

                    Bombardier's CEO just said yesterday that he expects Qatar Airways to finalize that deal for CSeries this year (maybe at Farnborough?) and he expects an order from at least one Chinese carrier.

                    As for the CSeries being too small... its final design freeze isn't expected until later this year. Bombardier has already made structural changes that would give evidence to a future stretch of the CSeries. I also believe that if an airline like Easyjet asks for it - a CS500 is very possible.

                    Who knows though... I don't! What I do know is that going to the airports in the future will be much more interesting with all of the new and different types of aircraft flying around!

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                    • #11
                      oh and, yes, there are so many things to consider when re-engining the A320 and the 737NG families. One of the largest to consider is the impact on financial transactions a re-engine will have. Backlogs will most likely want to be switched in favour of the newer aircraft and current fleets will be left to depreciate much quicker. In fact, Qantas Airways has already begun to depreciate their fleets faster due to the introduction of new aircraft and new engines. Airlines may become less liquid and credit in an already changing credit industry could be even more difficult to come by. Maintenance and capital costs for airlines... will it all add up to more than the 10% savings in COC? We'll see soon what they all say I guess.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by seahawk View Post
                        A open rotor design is a little slower and little louder then a comparable ducted-fan design, while offering better fuel efficiency. Before you would start working on a open-rotor design, you must know that the demands for silent jets won´t increase to a level an open-rotor would be hard pressed to match. And you must know that airlines will accept the slower cruise speed.
                        What's the difference between an 'open rotor' engine, and a turboprop?

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                        • #13
                          Now with the delay of the C-series and A320neo in flight, one can assume that the first GTF will be flying next year commercially and both manufacturers will release about the same time. As for the rest, well, MS-21 will not be a good seller thats for sure, C919 is in doubt,
                          MRJ painstaking slow progress as well.
                          "The real CEO of the 787 project is named Potemkin"

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