Airbus ‘old tech’ A330 keeps out selling Boeing ‘new tech’ 787
The morning after Qantas CEO Alan Joyce raised hopes of a role for its much delayed Boeing 787s in its long haul operations new sales for the ‘old tech’ Airbus A330 dealt another blow to the fortunes of the Boeing Dreamliners.
This time it was the sale of another 15 A330s to Turkish Airlines. A few days earlier it was another 10 A330s to Philippine Airlines.
The figures for the year to 30 September are telling in this contest. In the year to the end of September Airbus sold 71 A330s, while Boeing had a negative -22 sales for the ‘plastic fantastic’ Dreamliners as cancellations exceeded orders.
The Qantas cancellation of 35 firm orders for the 787-9 model announced late in August didn’t help, with the A330 continuing on its roll with those additional 25 orders to the Turkish and Philippines carriers this month.
As Joyce made clear yesterday, the conversion of Qantas options for the -9 version of the Dreamliner for purposes such as starting international services from Canberra, among other possible initiatives, depends on Qantas long haul satisfying the management rules for returning to viability by 2015.
Qantas retains firm orders for 15 of the initial version of the Dreamliner the 787-8, intended for Jetstar from sometime in the second half of next year. Plane Talking has already made an early call, in May, that those orders are likely to be switched back to Qantas, which is another topic which calls into question the on-going viability of basing Jetstar widebodies of any type in Singapore.
If any of the marketing hype surrounding the ultra light, ultra strong, ultra efficient high composite or plastic Dreamliners had been true, it would have buried the A330 the same way the A330 buried the Boeing 767 family.
But the 787 was, for a while, a triumph of brochure writing over engineering, and while the Dreamliners continue to hold out promises of better things, what was promised for deliveries from mid 2008, including to Qantas, struggles to be delivered in the present, with only 26 of them handed over to customers in just over a year.
It is late 2012! What this reporter, and many airlines believed in 2008 was that the Dreamliners would have transformed aviation by now, and the A330 would be on the way out, not in, with enough of a backlog to keep production going until at least 2018, as the larger sized Airbus answer to the 787, the similarly high composite A350 series, struggles to meet its revised and delayed targets.
Instead, the old tech A330s continue to look like outperforming the 787s for many airline purposes for some time to come, giving airlines weary of marketing hype the certainty of a known and effective design.