Debuting its new 787-9 widebody here at the Farnborough International Airshow yesterday, Boeing fired off an aggressive opening salvo against its rival Airbus. According to the U.S. airframer’s marketing vice president Randy Tinseth, if Airbus goes ahead with its anticipated launch of the re-engined A330neo this week it will prove that its A350 program is a failure.
“The A350-800 has failed, the -1000 has failed and all they have is a one-trick pony with the -900,” Tinseth told reporters. “The A330 was withdrawn 10 years ago because it couldn’t compete with the [Boeing] 777. The A350 has failed with the same engine [that Airbus is proposing to use for the A330neo.”
Boeing believes that the extension of its 787 family to include the larger, longer-range -9 and, eventually, -10 models, as well as last year’s launch of the 777X, will allow it to combat the A350, as well as any new version of the A330. “We have raised questions for the competition on what they do with the A330 and the A350-1000, if it keeps failing to sell,” said Tinseth. “They also have to answer the question as to what they are going to do about the A380. We will have the most capability no matter what they do.”
Air New Zealand took delivery of the first of 10 Rolls-Royce Trent 1000-powered 787-9s last Wednesday and eventually it will receive the example on display here at Farnborough, which for now is equipped as a flight test platform. The aircraft completed certification last month with 330-minute ETOPS approval.
The -9 is six meters (almost 20 feet) longer than the -8 and can carry up to 280 passengers (versus 242). Maximum range for the new model is 8,300 nm (compared with 7,750 nm). The -10 model, which is due to enter service in 2018, is another six meters longer, with space for 323 passengers and a range of 7,000 nm. “The -9 is mainly a growth vehicle for airlines that will largely replace the A340 and older 777s,” said Tinseth.
The 787-9 program is currently supported by 409 firm orders from 26 customers and Boeing also holds 132 orders for the -10 from six customers. Firm orders for the original -8 model now total 490 (with 46 airlines).
To date, 163 examples of the 787-8 have been delivered to 21 operators. Over the past two years Boeing has increased production rates to 10 per month but this is projected to climb to 12 per month by 2016 and 14 by the end of this decade.
According to Boeing, the 787 is delivering a 15-percent overall reduction in operating costs compared with other aircraft currently in its market segment. The company also highlighted a 30-percent reduction in airframe maintenance costs, a 20- to 25-percent reduction in emissions and a 60-percent smaller noise footprint. As of the end of June, the 787-8s in service had logged 492,100 hours on 110,200 flights and carried 20,550,000 passengers.
Boeing is now integrating the -9 model into its production system so that both models can be produced in tandem. It has not given a delivery schedule for new type. Meanwhile certification work for the 787-9 powered by GE Aviation’s GEnx engine is continuing.
Here at the Farnborough show, the new Boeing is being shown in both the static display and in an impressive daily flying routine. The aircraft was flown in from Seattle last week by 787 chief model pilot Captain Randy Neville and engineering model pilot Captain Mike Bryan.