Announcing long delays between aircraft models may not be the best-considered of marketing plans. Chief Operating Officer John of Airbus SAS said the company’s next single-aisle model likely won’t come for another 15 years. He said a successor to the Airbus A320 series will enter service about 2024.
Equally forward looking — but it may be possible the marketing department wishes he would keep his mouth shut — Tom Cogan, Boeing’s director of airplane product development thinks Boeing is probably going to take until 2020 for a replacement for the 737.
There were good and proper reasons for this. Airbus was focussing on its Airbus A380 superjumbo and Boeing on its 787 Dreamliner. That is where the glamour — not the money — is and they have distracted the two largest planemakers and drained resources.
Nick Cunningham, an aerospace analyst at Evolution Securities in London said, “They’re late doing these programs because they ran out of resources —money and people — because they screwed up their major programs. That’s left the door open for new contestants to come into the bottom end of the narrow-body market.”
So what is the opposition?
- The Bombardier CSeries jets due in 2013.
- Embraer, which has already extended its line of successful regional jets to offer a model that seats as many as 114 passengers.
- China’s Comac, is marketing the 168-seater C919, slated to enter service in 2016.
Bloomberg reported Richard Aboulafia, vice president at Fairfax, Virginia-based consulting company Teal Group who said the final arbiter will be operating expenses.
He said, “It’s fun to think about scenarios,” Aboulafia said. “With $147 fuel prices, it’s not 2024, it’s 2015” for Airbus and Boeing to introduce a new model. “And if it’s $50 a barrel forever, then frankly, it’s the 12th of Never.”