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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 still is awaiting its first commercial flight.

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

Airbus

Boeing

Article link

A350-800

787-9

Airbus Vs. Boeing: Who has the airplane of the future?

A350-900

787-10

Airbus Vs. Boeing: Who has the airplane of the future? (Part 2)

A350-1000*

777-300ER*

N/A

A350-900R*

777-200LR*

 

A350-900F

777-200F

Airbus vs. Boeing: Who has the cargo airplane of the future?

* Subject of this article

In my previous articles I compared the A350-900 with the 787-10 and the A350-800 with the 787-9. In this article I will compare the Airbus A350-1000, which is a stretched version of the A350-900, with the Boeing 777-300ER. I will also compare the A350-900R with the Boeing 777-200LR.

I want to note that more information about actual passenger numbers and range capabilities for the Airbus A350 became available, therefore I will use this article to implement those changes and also revise conclusions if needed.

As can be seen in the diagram above, Airbus prefers range over passengers with the Airbus A350-1000, leaving Boeing's monopoly with the 777-300ER in the 350-450 passenger range untouched. The Airbus A350-1000 only 'eats away' the lower side of the Boeing 777-300ER market.

The Airbus A350-900R pushes the boundaries, being able to carry more passengers to a destination farther away. One could say that the Boeing 777-200LR finds a competitor in the Airbus A350-900R.

Looking at the payload vs. range diagram in more detail a couple things become 'visible:'

  • The boundaries of the diagram are spanned by 2 Boeing airplanes (777-300ER, 787-10) on the upper side (more passengers) and by 2 Airbus airplanes (A350-800 and A350-900R) on the lower side (bigger range).
  • The Boeing aircraft (green + brown area) enclose 2 Airbus aircraft (A350-900 and A350-1000). Unless this is a sweet spot the A350-900 is up for some heavy competition.
  • The Airbus aircraft (red + brown area) encloses 1 Boeing aircraft (Boeing 777-200LR).
  • The Boeing 787-9 and the A350-800 are the only planes that are really close to each other in the diagram, indicating similar characteristics.
  • The fact that Airbus values range over payload becomes visible as the Airbus aircraft are positioned slightly lower but more to the right relative to their Boeing counterpart on the diagram.
  • With 4 aircraft Boeing spans a bigger part of the diagram, than Airbus does with its 4 new planes, meaning that with the A350 Airbus targeted a very specific area (what this area is will become visible in a later diagram).

Difference between the Airbus A350-1000 and Airbus A350-900

 

Airbus A350-1000

Airbus A350-900

Difference

Cabin width [m]

5,61

5,61

0,00%

Passengers [-]

369

315

17,14%

LD3 containers [-]

44

36

22,22%

MTOW (tonnes)

308

268

14,93%

Wing Area [m2]

460

443

3,84%

Span [m]

64,8

64,8

0,00%

Aspect-ratio [-]

9,13

9,48

-3,71%

Fuel [L]

156000

138000

13,04%

Range [km]

14800

14350

3,14%

Fuel/km [L/km]

10,54

9,62

9,61%

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

0,029

0,031

-6,43%

List price [million $]

299,7

287,7

4,17%

Engine power [kN]

431

374

15,24%

As can be seen the Airbus A350-1000 differs on some points from the baseline. The Airbus A350-1000 is able to carry 17% more passengers and more cargo to a destination that lies 3.1% farther away. The aspect-ratio is slightly lower, meaning that the lift induced drag is higher. The A350-1000 has more powerful engines and a higher fuel capacity.

(click to enlarge)

Source: Airbus (airbus-a350.com)

The Airbus A350-1000 is a stretched version of the baseline model, having 11 frames more.

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

 

Airbus A350-900R

Airbus A350-900

Difference

Cabin width [m]

5,61

5,61

0,00%

Passengers [-]

315

315

0,00%

LD3 containers [-]

36

36

0,00%

MTOW (tonnes)

298

268

11,19%

Wing Area [m2]

460

443

3,84%

Span [m]

64,8

64,8

0,00%

Aspect-ratio [-]

9,13

9,48

-3,71%

Fuel [L]

156000

138000

13,04%

Range [km]

19100

14350

33,10%

Fuel/km [L/km]

8,17

9,62

-15,07%

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

0,026

0,031

-15,07%

List price [million $]

N/A

287,7

-

Engine power [kN]

414

374

10,70%

The ranged version of the -900 (proposed) has increased range capability due to the higher MTOW that has been used to store more fuel. Additionally the 'R' shares the same wing characteristics (more wing area to lift the plane) as the -1000 and has more powerful engines.

Comparing the Airbus A350-1000 and the Boeing 777-300ER

 

Airbus A350-1000

Boeing 777-300ER

Difference

Cabin width [m]

5,61

5,87*

-4,43%

Passengers [-]

369

386*

-4,40%

LD3 containers [-]

44

44

0,00%

MTOW (tonnes)

308

351,5*

-12,38%

Wing Area [m2]

460

427,8

7,53%

Span [m]

64,8

64,8

0,00%

Aspect-ratio [-]

9,13

9,82*

-7,00%

Fuel [L]

156000

181283*

-13,95%

Range [km]

14800*

14490

2,14%

Fuel/km [L/km]

10,54*

12,51

-15,75%

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

0,029*

0,032

-11,87%

List price [million $]

299,7*

320,2

-6,40%

Engine power [kN]

431

514*

-16,15%

* Better in comparison

As can be seen the Airbus A350-1000 is cheaper and has a lower fuel/km/passenger ratio, but with that all pros for the Airbus A350-1000 are mentioned. Taking into account that the Boeing 777-300ER is already a decade old, I don't think Airbus brought a very strong competitor on the market.

Comparing the Airbus A350-900R and the Boeing 777-200LR

 

Airbus A350-900R

Boeing 777-200LR

Difference

Cabin width [m]

5,61

5,87*

-4,43%

Passengers [-]

315*

314

0,32%

LD3 containers [-]

36*

32

12,50%

MTOW (tonnes)

298

298

0,00%

Wing Area [m2]

460

427,8

7,53%

Span [m]

64,8

64,8

0,00%

Aspect-ratio [-]

9,13

9,82*

-7,00%

Fuel [L]

156000*

181283

-13,95%

Range [km]

19100*

17370

9,96%

Fuel/km [L/km]

8,17*

10,44

-21,74%

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

0,026*

0,033

-21,99%

List price [million $]

N/A

296

-

Engine power [kN]

414

512*

-19,14%

* Better in the comparison

As can be seen the A350-900R performs better on almost all aspects, but just like for the Boeing 777-200LR demand is low, therefore I don't expect this proposed version of the 350-900 being launched in the coming years. It might even be possible that Airbus will never bring this concept to the market.

Since airlines signaled that the range capabilities for the 900R are excessive, Airbus has been talking with airlines about a Regional version of the -900. The Airbus A350-900 Regional should have a lower MTOW and lower engine trust, making it suitable for regional flights (multiple flights/cycles per day). At this point not much information is available other than an estimated MTOW of 250 tonnes and reduced engine power.

Since some of the characteristics for the A350 have been changed, I will shortly highlight the changes:

 

A350-800

787-9

Difference

Passengers

276

280

-1,45%

Fuel [L]

129000

138700

-7,52%

Range [km]

15300

15750

-2,94%

Fuel/km [L/km]

8,43

8,81

-4,45%

Fuel/km/passenger [L/km]

0,031

0,031

-2,96%

The Airbus A350-800 now will be able to carry 276 passengers instead of 270. In return the range has been reduced to 15300 km from 15700. With these changes the Airbus A350-800 moves away from the Boeing 787-9 on the range vs. payload diagram.

 

A350-900

787-10

Difference

Passengers

315

323

-2,54%

Fuel [L]

138000

138700

-0,51%

Range [km]

14350

13000

9,41%

Fuel/km [L/km]

9,62

10,67

-10,94%

Fuel/km/passenger [L/km]

0,031

0,033

-8,20%

The A350-900 will carry 1 passenger more, but the range has been reduced significantly.

Orders and financials

A350-800

A350-900(NYSE:R)

A350-1000

Total

56

567

189

812

Boeing 787-9

Boeing 787-10/777-200LR

Boeing 777-300ER

 

404

135*

269**

808

* 132 unfilled orders for the 787-10, 3 unfilled orders for the 777-200LR

** 452 airplanes have already been delivered (total filled and unfilled orders 721)

 

[$ in billions]

 

A350-800

16

2%

A350-900

163

21%

A350-1000

57

7%

Order book

795

 

As can be seen the A350-900 makes up for a big part of the order book. The share of the -800 and -1000 is much smaller. The entire A350 family makes up for 30% of the order book.

 

[$ in billions]

 

787-9

96,4

28%

787-10

38,1

11%

777-300ER

86,1

25%

777-200LR

0,88

0,3%

Order book

345

 

As can be seen the importance of the 787 and 777 is quite significant for the Boeing order book. The 787-9 and 787-10 make up for 39% of the order book while the 300ER and 200LR make up for 25.3%.

The fact that the relative importance of the 777 and 787 for Boeing is bigger than the importance for the A350 for Airbus does not mean that it is better plane or that the airplane has a stronger position on the market. In fact the A350 and 787/777 both have an order book value of about $220 billion dollars.

The Airbus A350 always has been seen as a successor of the Airbus A330 and A340, but looking at the range and payload capabilities, the Airbus A350 family is nowhere near the Airbus A330. The A350 better can be seen as a replacement for the unsuccessful Airbus A340. Next to looking at the order books to determine the success for the A350 and 787 one can also look at the orders and deliveries for the A350 (family), the Airbus A340 family, the 777-300ER, 777-200ER, 787-10 and the 777-200LR as these airplanes are close to each other in the range vs. payload diagram.

 

Deliveries

Orders

Boeing 777-300ER

452

269

Boeing 787-10

0

132

Boeing 787-9

0

404

Boeing 777-200LR

56

3

Boeing 777-200ER

422

0

BOEING TOTAL

930

808

Airbus A340-200

28

0

Airbus A340-300

218

0

Airbus A340-500

34

0

Airbus A340-600

97

0

Airbus A350-900

0

567

Airbus A350-900R

0

0

Airbus A350-800

0

56

Airbus A350-1000

0

189

AIRBUS TOTAL

377

812

As can be seen, just like with the order book numbers, there is not a clear 'winner.' Order numbers are about equal, while for every Airbus airplane in this market segment there are 2.5 Boeing airplanes.

Now looking back at the orders one could also come up with a delivery/order-ratio. For Boeing, this ratio is 1.15, for Airbus this ratio is 0.46. This basically means that for every Boeing airplane already flying, there is 0.9 airplane on order (for every 10 airplanes flying, there are 9 ordered). For Airbus this means that for every Airbus already flying there are 2.15 airplanes on order.

Looking at the ratio one can conclude that Airbus is up for a big market share expansion in this market segment, while further demand for air transport can boost orders.

As can be seen, this market segment is heavily dominated by Boeing making it harder to actually maintain this strong position.

Looking at the orders it can be seen that these are equally divided.

Now assuming that all orders will be used to actually expand the fleet, meaning no out phasing of airplanes, it can be seen that Airbus share on the market can be expected to grow, but this part of the long haul market is still dominated by Boeing.

So far I have dealt with 2 methods to determine success of an airplane:

  1. Looking at the characteristics (Look which airplane performs better)
  2. Looking at the order numbers and order books (Look at the market success)

The third method is to look at the market but then 'zoomed out' quite a bit: Looking at the payload vs. range diagram to see what airplanes are competitors and which are not.

(click to enlarge)

(Red = Old Airbus models, Blue = New Airbus models, Orange = Old Boeing models, Green = New Boeing models).

Looking at the diagram, a few things become visible:

  • Airbus came up with 4 airplanes to replace the Airbus A340 family
  • The Airbus A350-1000 is a replacement of the A340-500 and competitor for the Boeing 777-300ER
  • The Airbus A350-900 replaces the A340-200/300 and competes directly with the older but successful Boeing 777-200ER and the new Boeing 787-10
  • The Airbus A350-800 and Boeing 787-9 are direct competitors.

Some conclusions before answering "Who has the airplane of the future?"

Before answering this questions a few conclusions have to be drawn:

With the A350 series, Airbus tries to strengthen its position on the long range market. Looking at the diagram for the future market, it can be said that Airbus will get a bigger market share. It has to be noted though that Airbus has 4 brand new airplanes to compete with 2 new aircraft and 2 aircraft that are a decade old, yet order numbers are comparable.

The Airbus A350 family is an airplane that should give Airbus a bigger market share, just like the Boeing 777 gave Boeing a big market share.

One could also say that Airbus had to come up with something as their only successful plane on the long range market is the A330, while Boeing is positioned extremely well in that same market with the Boeing 757, 767-300ER and the 777 series, lately adding the 787 to that market. While the A350 to some extent has some better performance numbers, it all depends on fuel burn (not known at this point).

It should be taken into account that Boeing will come up with the 777X, which will partly be made out of composites, lowering the weight significantly.

One should take into account that Airbus offers a stretched and a smaller version of its A350-900, while Boeing has to stretch its 787-8 (replacement for the Boeing 767) to compete with the A350 models. It is easier to 'tweak down' an airplane than increase characteristics for a plane that wasn't made for certain mission requirements.

The Airbus A350-900 does well with 567 orders, placing itself exactly between the Boeing 787-10 and the Boeing 777-200LR and between the 787-10 and the 787-8 in the passenger vs. range diagram. The A350 is positioned between the 777 and the 787 family which makes it harder for Boeing come up with a suitable competitor. The 787 stretched versions probably already are stretched to their maximum, while Boeing seems to be choosing for higher passenger numbers at the 777X project filling the gap between the 777 and the 747. As can be seen the Airbus A350 family replaces the entire A340 family that never has been a success due disappointing performance with respect to the Boeing 777.

Airbus should be cautious though as it offers dense seat configurations to get similar seat numbers as the Boeing 777, but this will mean a lower range, placing the A350 family slightly higher (more passengers) but more to the left (lower range) on the diagram, close to the 777-200 and 777-300. It should be kept in mind that there probably is no market for that part of the diagram (orders for Boeing in that region of the diagram are 0).

Who has the airplane of the future?

ANSWER:

  • Looking at the Airbus A350-800 and the 787-9, the Boeing 787-9 is a clear winner.
  • Looking at the Airbus A350-900 and the 787-10, the Airbus A350-900 is a winner (but the Boeing 787-10 looks promising since it already acquired 132 orders in just a couple of months). But for now the Airbus A350-900 is the winner. Any news about the Boeing 787-10 being more fuel efficient, might boost orders for the -10.
  • Looking at the Airbus A350-900R, this airplane seems like an airplane concept that will never be a real success or at least at this point airlines are not in need for such an airplane.
  • Looking at the Airbus A350-1000 and the Boeing 777-300ER seems to be winning it. The older 777-300ER has more orders than the brand new Airbus A350-1000. It also has to be noted that the 777-8X is already being worked out, giving the Airbus A350-1000 a brand new competitor.

Airbus has been successful with its baseline A350 model, but I don't see its stretched and shrunken versions having success any time soon.

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 in 2013. Since the market outlook for the aviation industry is quite good, I think both companies have 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 2 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. The current market pull back might offer an opportunity to add these stocks to your portfolio.

Source: Airbus Vs. Boeing: Who Has The Airplane Of The Future? (Part 3, Final Part)