The World Needs a Succesful 787 Dreamliner

by Respicio A. Espirito Santo Jr. This past Tuesday, December 15, 2009, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner made its first flight. As widely reported in the last 2 years, the development of the aircraft was quite turbulent, in part largely due to the complexity in dealing with several new technologies in materials (surely one of the greatest advances of the 787), new systems, new concepts, and also due to the management and logistics of design/production between Boeing and hundreds of new partners and suppliers. Even with all these setbacks, but owing to its promised extraordinary efficiency and performance, the aircraft is the most successful in terms of orders “before-first-flight” in Boeing’s commercial aircraft history. For all of this and much more the 787 has everything to become a milestone in the history of commercial aviation. From its introduction into airline service, all other large/medium commercial aircraft must incorporate new design philosophies and concepts, since only speaking of “new technologies” is totally redundant. Therefore, sets of paradigms will be broken and new ones will be created. I foresee that in 40, 50 years the airline industry, the press, regulators, legislators and the worldwide society will be referring to something like “… before the 787, the general view was that …” or maybe “… the aircraft imposed a vast new range of parameters in terms of efficiency and comfort to passengers and airlines…”. However, for all of this to happen in the most positive and constructive ways for the airline industry and, most of all, to passengers and would-be-passengers in the world, it is essential that the 787 becomes an absolute success. And I write these words because not only Boeing’s Commercial Aircraft Division depends on a fully successful 787; the Dreamliner success will also spur a continuous and an indispensable search for the highest-possible safety added to efficient and environmentally friendly designs on Airbus, Embraer, Bombardier, ATR and in all other commercial aircraft manufacturers, especially those that seek to (re)enter the market, such as Sukhoi, Mitsubishi and the new companies in China, Russia and, probably, India and Korea. In other words: the success of all other aircraft manufacturers also depend on the 787 being extremely successful. Whether only on the ‘politically correct’ side or on a sincere appreciation, the official statement from Airbus on the first flight of the 787 expresses a great truth: the constant advances in commercial aviation are a direct and positive result of competition. For this and much more, all of us citizens of the World must hope and cheer so that the 787 Dreamliner may become a complete success and a great milestone in the history of commercial aviation.

Paris Airshow 2005: Getting the Big Picture…

Every aviation analyst as well as aviation enthusiast was anxiously waiting for the opening hour of this year’s Paris Air Show. With the hype around both Boeing and Airbus, this year’s Paris Air Show promised to be yet another milestone in aviation with three breakthrough aircraft being offered to airlines, the Boeing 787 and Airbus’s A350 and A380. Visitors could watch with much amazement the flying capabilities of the A380, while the A340-600 performed its usual flying display at low speeds combined with sharp turns. Big orders placed by (new) Indian airlines came as a surprise to most. Orders from the Middle East were modest with only one major single order placed by an Arabian airline so far.

With Airbus having the A318, A340-600 and the A380-800 present as both static and flying displays, combined with the orders announced during the press visiting days, Airbus dominated the Paris Air Show taking up about 65 percent of all orders announced during the show. With more details published about the A350 airlines are now also looking at the possibilities this aircraft offers. In total Airbus sold 261 aircraft worth 29.1 billion U.S. dollars during the air show, while Boeing chalked up 148 orders worth 14.8 billion U.S. dollars. Of these Airbus orders, at least 125 were placed by Indian airlines. Airbus came back with a vengeance. Even though the Indian airlines appear to be on a rebound, some aviation observers are sceptical about the massive orders placed by these airlines. Most of these Indian airlines are new and still need to prove themselves. Even so one of these airlines ordered 100 A320 aircraft while another ordered the A380-800 to many people’s surprise. Some of these airlines focus on a hub-to-hub strategy while others focus on the point-to-point philosophy giving us a mixed picture of which strategy will prove to become the winner in India. Boeing on the other hand announced smaller orders for the 777 and the 737.

While Airbus is known to announce its orders at major events, Boeing has a more conservative approach by not giving flying displays and announcing orders as they are placed. Some observers think Boeing should be worried with the large Airbus orders but worries are probably an overstatement. Boeing’s orderbook so far has been very good, with the 787 and 737 still leading the way. The new 747 Advanced is also said to enter its final development stage and is almost ready for launch. Boeing still remains determined about the point-to-point strategy becoming the future way of flying which explains Boeing’s confidence in their highly advanced and successful 787 which until now has over 200 orders. Airbus is now seeing the potential of this medium capacity (ultra) long-range market and now offers the A350 which some people still see as a rebuffed A330. Some observers think the end of the A340-200/-300 and the A330-200/-300 is coming closer with the introduction of the A350. The aircraft’s projected capacity and range are very close to Airbus’s own A340 and A330 as well as the 787 and 777 offered by Boeing. Airbus now offers aircraft for both the hub-tot-hub operations as well as to point-to-point operations.

Looking back on this year’s Paris Air Show it shows that Airbus was getting ready for a comeback. The silence on Airbus’s side for the last few weeks only made us wonder more about what Airbus was working on. The sudden rise of Indian airlines gives both aircraft manufacturers more reason to focus on this market. Unlike the doubts that some observers may have, the fact is that airlines have placed large orders whether they have come as a complete surprise or whether the orders were expected. Only time will tell whether these big orders can support the expected growth in air travel. One thing is sure, after this year’s Paris Air Show, it has become clear that the aviation industry is on a rise again with more large aircraft orders expected to be announced before the end of this year. Aircraft manufacturers can look forward to a full production line for the coming years which can be a good indication of more things to come…

Boeing and Airbus: Do or Die…

As some of you already know, Boeing has been very successful with its latest aircraft, the 787. Airbus is struggling to come up with a true competitor to this new aircraft. The A350 has not generated that much interest from airlines around the world as the 787 has. The Paris Air Show is coming closer and every aviation enthusiast as well as every aviation expert is discussing about what we all can expect fro Boeing and Airbus.

With Boeing launching a new aircraft and the first all-composite commercial aircraft, the 787, Boeing has given hints that it will launch a complete new aircraft family based on the technologies used on the 787. Boeing is currently studying a new 747 model under the name 747 Advanced. Also going around in the press these days is the hype around a 737/A320 replacement aircraft with Boeing being rumored to be studying a new 737/A230 replacement aircraft behind the curtains. Boeing has said in the past it will base all its new aircraft on the technologies used on the 787. This would give Boeing a lead over its arch-rival, Airbus. It will take Boeing minimal investment in a complete new family of aircraft once the 787 truly proves its money’s worth. Once proven, the door opens to Boeing to offer a new family of aircraft, from narrowbody aircraft to widebody aicraft, from short-medium range aircraft to ultra-long range aircraft. Airbus has launched the A380 with the first flight already completed. The A350 is Airbus’s answer to the 787. Airbus has only received 10 commitments for the proposed A350, while Boeing has already received 200+ orders for its 787. Up until now the 787 has showed us that this aircraft is clearly the aircraft of choice to a lot of (key) airlines. Airlines are starting to see the benefits of more composites in aircraft and Boeing is currently showing the way. Airbus who before the 787 was known for being the leader in the usage of composite materials in its aircraft is now seeing its market rapidly diminishing with Boeing gaining more ground and popularity with the 787. The thought of Boeing coming with an entire range of new aircraft, does give one the right to say that Airbus must be very worried at the moment and must go back to the drawing boards and brainstorm about the direction in which Airbus wants to go in the coming years.

With Boeing slowly winning back its marketshare from Airbus and the possibility of launching a new 737/A320 replacement aircraft, Airbus has a reason to be worried about its own line of aircraft. Airbus has been very successful with its A320 aircraft family. If Boeing will announce a 737/A320 sized aircraft with 787 technologies, this may hurt Airbus in a bigger way than we might think. Airbus might see their marketshare drop significantly if they don’t come up with a new aircraft design to compete with Boeing’s new products. Airbus may well be in its own dilemma and must determine whether the A350 will be its next ‘attack’ on Boeing or whether a complete new A320NG will be a better move for Airbus. Both these aircraft types are strategically seen as crucial aircraft for the future airline markets. Aircraft in these ranges are the next focus points for many airlines around the world. How this all will play out, will be something worth paying attention to. One thing is sure, the Paris Air Show promises to be the best air show in a very long time with both Boeing and Airbus wanting to be at their best and showing their muscles. We should all pay close attention to Airbus and Boeing and what may lie ahead of us and the commercial aviation industry….

Boeing 7E7: Launching a New Generation

This article focuses on the suppliers for the Boeing 7E7 new generation aircraft as well as technologies used in the 7E7 compared to current technologies. Furthermore, the articles provides some information on competitive aircraft like the 767, 757, A330, A300, A310 worldwide airliner fleet to determine the market demand based on this information. The article is closed with a look ahead.Download article here.

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