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In order to maintain and expand market share, both Boeing (NYSE:BA) and Airbus (OTCPK:EADSF) came up with new airplanes. The Boeing 787 saw its first commercial flight in October 2011, but has been coping with battery problems and other problems lately. The Airbus A350 has made its maiden flight, but is still awaiting its first commercial flight.

The Airbus A350 comes in 5 variants, each should be able to compete with its Boeing counterparts:

Airbus

Boeing

A350-800

787-9

A350-900*

787-10*

A350-1000

777-300ER

A350-900R

777-200LR

A350-900F

777-200F

* Subject of this article

In the previous article I compared the A350-800 and the 787-9. In this article I will compare the Airbus A350-900, which is the baseline model of the A350, and the Boeing 787-10, which is a stretched version of the 787-8. The other 3 variants along with their direct competitors will be dealt with in future articles.

(click to enlarge)

As can be seen in the diagram above, the Boeing 787-10 is able to carry more passengers but not as far as the Airbus A350-900.

Difference between the Airbus A350-900 and Airbus A350-800

Airbus A350-900

Airbus A350-800

Difference

Cabin width [m]

5,61

5,61

0,00%

Passengers [-]

314

270

14,01%

LD3 containers [-]

36

28

22,22%

MTOW (tonnes)

268

259

3,36%

Wing Area [m2]

443

443

0,00%

Span [m]

64,8

64,8

0,00%

Aspect-ratio [-]

9,48

9,48

0,00%

Fuel [L]

138000

129000

6,52%

Range [km]

15000

15700

-4,67%

Fuel/km [L/km]

9,2

8,22

10,69%

Fuel/km/passenger [L/km/passenger]

0,029

0,030

-3,86%

List price [million $]

287,7

254,3

11,61%

Engine power [kN]

374

351

6,15%

As can be seen, the general dimensions (wings and cabin width) are the same. The design is kept constant on 4 characteristics. Due to the fact that -800 fuselage is shorter relative to the baseline model, the baseline can transport more passengers and cargo. The Airbus A350-900 also has a higher MTOW (Maximum Take Off Weight), which is used to transport more passengers and more fuel, enabling the plane to fly approximately the same range.

(click to enlarge)

Source: Airbus (www.airbus-a350.com)

The baseline has 10 frames more than the smaller Airbus A350-800.

Difference between the Boeing 787-10 and Boeing 787-9

Boeing 787-10

Boeing 787-9

Difference

Cabin width [m]

5,49

5,49

0,00%

Passengers [-]

323

280

13,31%

LD3 containers [-]

40

36

10,00%

MTOW (tonnes)

251

251

0,00%

Wing Area [m2]

325

325

0,00%

Span [m]

60,1

60,1

0,00%

Aspect-ratio [-]

11,11

11,11

0,00%

Fuel [L]

138700

138700

0,00%

Range [km]

13000

15750

-21,15%

Fuel/km [L/km]

10,67

8,81

17,46%

Fuel/km/passenger [L/km/passenger]

0,033

0,031

4,78%

List price [million $]

288.7

243,6

18.5%

Engine power [kN]

340

320

5,88%

As can be seen, the 787-10 is very similar to the Boeing 787-9 (design kept constant on 6 characteristics as well). Whereas Airbus chose to raise the MTOW to store more fuel and increase payload and engine thrust, Boeing chose to keep the MTOW and fuel capacity constant, while increasing the payload and thrust, resulting in a smaller range.

Comparing the Airbus A350-900 and the Boeing 787-10

Airbus A350-900

Boeing 787-10

Difference

Cabin width [m]

5,61 *

5,49

2,14%

Passengers [-]

314

323 *

-2,87%

LD3 containers [-]

36

40 *

-11,11%

MTOW (tonnes)

268 *

251

6,34%

Wing Area [m^2]

443

325

26,64%

Span [m]

64,8

60,1

7,25%

Aspect-ratio [-]

9,48

11,11 *

-17,25%

Fuel [L]

138000

138700 *

-0,51%

Range [km]

15000 *

13000

13,33%

Fuel/km [L/km]

9,2 *

10,67

-15,97%

Fuel/km/passenger [L/km/passenger]

0,029 *

0,033

-12,74%

List price [million $]

287,7 *

288.7

-0.31%

Engine power [kN]

374

340

9,09%

* Better in the comparison

Looking at these numbers, a couple of conclusions can be drawn:

  • The Airbus A350 XWB cabin is wider than its Boeing counterpart.
  • The Boeing 787-10 is able carry more payload (passengers + cargo), being able to store more LD3 containers means a higher revenue.
  • The Airbus A350 can take less payload, farther away.
  • The fuel per kilometer per passenger is higher for the Boeing 787-10. It should be noted, though, that the Boeing 787-10 can carry more cargo. Additionally, Steven Udvar-Hazy from Air Lease Corp (NYSE:AL) said that the Boeing 787-10 has a lower fuel burn than the Airbus A350-900, making it a more attractive airplane.
  • The Dreamliner beats the A350 when it comes to aspect ratio as well, meaning that the drag is probably lower as well.
  • Whereas Airbus aims for the longer range, Boeing seems to be aiming for transporting more passengers over a slightly lower distance.

Guidance and production rates

Boeing expects that by 2032, there will be demand for 3300 medium wide body aircraft. Airbus didn't specify a number for this category, but expects demand for 7273 wide body aircraft, while Boeing is slightly higher with 8590 aircraft.

Taking into account the guidance and the fact that Boeing seems to have a higher production rate, I think Boeing has positioned itself very well to get orders for the replacement of the Boeing 777-200ER and expansion of the fleet due to higher demand for air transport.

Orders and financials

The Boeing 787-10 was officially announced on the Paris Airshow 2013, with Singapore Airlines (OTCPK:SINGY) being the launch customer (30 airplanes).

Airbus A350-900

Boeing 787-10

Orders

567

132

As can be seen, the Airbus A350-900 has more than 4 times more orders than the Dreamliner. With 567 orders, the Airbus A350-900 fills the orders books with $163 billion (20.5% of the order book, not taking into account the huge discounts given by the manufacturer). The Boeing 787 has been "on the market" for just a few months, gathering 132 orders and commitments worth $38.1 billion or 11% of the order book.

First deliveries for the A350-900 will start in mid-2014, while 787-10 deliveries will follow 4 years later, leaving the Boeing 777-200ER (for which orders are drying up) to compete with the A350-900.

The later service entry of the 787-10 does not necessarily need to have a negative influence on the order numbers. The 777-200ER has quite a good safety record in comparison to the Airbus A330, giving airlines a strong fleet member that does not need replacement as of yet.

It is hard to compare the Airbus A350-900 with just one Boeing airplane, as it shows range characteristics similar to that of the Boeing 777-300ER but payload capabilities similar to that of the 787-10, thereby taking its own spot in the payload vs. range diagram.

The Airbus A350-900 is a replacement for the unsuccessful Airbus A340-300 (218 deliveries). Taking into account that the A340-300 was not a very successful airplane, it can be concluded that Airbus does quite well with the A350-900. Part of the orders that came for the Airbus A350-900 are meant for replacement of airplanes, but also for fleet expansion and as a way for airlines to pressure competing manufacturers (make use of the duopoly that Airbus and Boeing have). Japan Airlines, for example, signed a contract for the A350 partly to show its discord about the problems with the Boeing 787.

Looking at the Boeing 787-10, it seems that Boeing didn't build it as a direct competitor for the A350-900 per se, but more as another building block for the Yellowstone project. I expect that Boeing will try to compete the A350-900 with the upcoming 777X as well, which means that the Airbus A350-900 can expect heavy competition from the 777-300ER, 787-10 and 777X.

Source: CNN Money (http://money.cnn.com/)

Looking at the performance of Airbus (blue, +78%) and Boeing (green, +84%), it can be seen that both companies did quite well. Since the market outlook for the aviation industry is quite good, I think both companies have huge upward potential for 2014. In 2014, Boeing can expect orders for the 787 to grow steadily, while orders for the 777X might pick up pace. Airbus, on the other hand, can expect orders for the Airbus A350 to grow further as well. The Airbus A350-900 is a very strong airplane that gives Airbus two strong airplanes (Airbus A330-200/300) to compete on the wide body market, which is pretty much ruled by Boeing. It does not hurt to have both stocks in your portfolio, though.

Disclosure: I am long BA. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Source: Airbus Vs. Boeing: Who Has The Airplane Of The Future? (Part 2)