(787) Dash Ten

  • Double-Stretched 787 Gathers Momentum
  • Emirates Undecided Over 787-10X Purchase, Favours 777X
  • Boeing Charleston In With A Shout For Assembly

Boeing has probably spent more time this year talking about the planned 777X family than it has done in respect of the 787-10X. But in the background, it’s the stretched 787 that is closer to both definition and launch.

Jim Albaugh has opined about launching the 787-10X first followed later by the 777X family – it’s likely the 787-10X could get ATO around the time the first major components of the 787-9 start arriving in Everett, WA ahead of final assembly later this fall. The 787-10X is poised to be roughly a 6m stretch (est) over the 787-9, taking length beyond that of the 777-200/777-200ER/777-200LR models at some 69m (est) with tri-class seating for around 323 passengers, or a 10% increase over the 787-9.

What is less clear is where Emirates sits on this airplane having pressed Boeing to launch it. Emirates’ eye favours the 777X for a number of reasons.

First off, the airline has no 787s on order and is unlikely to commit to buying any while the backlog is so big and because even the 787-9 doesn’t have enough seats for their liking.

Secondly, Emirates finds there is more commonality to be had with the existing 777 fleet if it commits to the 777X and becomes an early adopter, if not outright launch customer for the 777-8X and 777-9X.

Thirdly, Emirates has effectively placed a cap on its planned widebody variety, focussing the next 15 years around the planned 90 A380s, 70 A350s and the litany of 777s, dominated by the hot-selling 777-300ER. And with the earliest 777-300ER not due to be withdrawn until close to 2018 (based on current projections) Emirates is unlikely to rock-the-boat with a 787 variant and add to its fleet mix.

For Boeing, there are at least two-dozen or more carriers, many comprised from the Asia-Pacific Rim region that are itching to place orders for the 787-10X. Not only would it provide a staggering economic and performance boost in contrast to both A330-300s and 777-300s many currently operate, but it also gives the company a chance to develop its Charleston assembly facility.

Boeing Charleston is due to deliver just 4 787-8s in 2012. As Boeing moves toward its goal of 10 787s a month in 19 months time, Charleston will be producing 787s at a rate of around 3-per-month. Contingency planning has long been in place to support a higher production rate, assuming costs on the 787 program fall away sharper than they did for the 777.

And with the 787-10 fuselage being too big to fit inside the 747-400LCF Dreamlifter, there’s a compelling argument for keeping the entire specialised 787 fabrication and assembly for the double-stretched 787-10X in Charleston.

If Boeing aims to make the 787 cash-rich as well as enhance its portfolio, it has to seriously consider the possibility that the 787-10X won’t be built in Everett, if only because logistics and costs of shipping aerostructures make it more worthwhile and attractive by keeping it in Charleston where the bulk of the fuselage work will be done anyway.

While both Everett and Charleston production lines have the capability to mix-and-match the various 787 models, it makes more sense to keep the South Carolina arm busy with 787-8s and 787-10s, leaving Washington to stick with 787-8s and longer ranged 787-9s.

All of that is still to come. But as I have said before, Charleston is not and will not be allowed to be a one trick pony. Boeing has invested here for the next four or five decades – that does not mean Everett workers lose out. They’re just sharing the spoils of what could arguably be the most profitable widebodied airplane Boeing has ever built and it makes sense to tap into the resources of 787-only capabilities now ripening in Charleston.

2 Replies to “(787) Dash Ten”

  1. By the way, if you want insight into how a sophist works, I recommend that you go to Leeham (AirInsight Blog) and read “Different Assumptions Yield Different Airplanes” posted yesterday.
    Everyone consider the 787-10X as a double- stretched. I will demonstrate that it is a single-stretched.
    The 787-8 was Boeing proof of principle of the composite monolith barrel and wing design and the new all electrical architecture. It was way overly designed. Remember Airbus “lessons learned” critic of 787-8 being 20,000# overweigh. By the way as reported here, 350-900 is also 20,000# overweigh. It appears that Airbus hasn’t learned yet. By LN90, -8 should be at its designed OEW. All the knowledge and experiences accumulated so far are going to be incorporated into -9; baseline model.
    By definition a single-stretch is trading range for capacity @ essentially the same MTOW. Conversely, a single-shrink is trading capacity for range @ essentially the same MTOW. 787-8ER will not be 787-8 beef up.
    The two known examples of a double-stretch are 767-400ER & A340-600. We all know their fate.

  2. I was hoping for some feedback regarding AirInsight 18MAY12 posting.

    Usually no one wants to be the 1st. Ok, I will start.

    From the posting,” Airbus promises better economics than the -9-but there’s a lot we don’t yet know about the airplane.”

    We know enough that the validity of Airbus assertion can be tested.

    From Machtuck. on May 17, 2012 at 13:34 said
    “What is clear now is that the A350-800 is going to face extremely strong competition from the 787.
    The true competitor to the A350-800 is the 787-9.
    A358: 270 PAX / 28 LD3 Capacity / 15,700km range at Mach0.85 /
    787-9: 280 PAX/ 36 LD3 Capacity / 15,380km range at Mach0.85 /
    So, A350-800 is going to be seen off by the 787-9…Airbus is already losing orders for the -800 variant and industry talk isn’t positive regarding -800.”

    We have his answer. However, his premise is backwards. Is the A350-800 capable to competition against B787-9?

    1. Passengers: No advantage here. This is why Airbus always compares -800 vs. -8 and -900 vs. -9.
    2. Volume efficiency: There is no contest here. -9 will always have 8 LD3 or 30% more cargo space available. It matches the -900.
    3. Economic envelope: This is the payload-range curve. They are not available yet. However, we can draw some general comparisons.
    a. -800 range,MTOW etc posted is for when Airbus was optimizing it. Now, it will be a single-shrink of -900.
    i. Increased MTOW
    ii. Increased fuel: longer legs
    iii. Increased OEW
    iv. Lousy economics: Historically
    b. Its payload-range curve will fit within -9 and will cross it at a range of little value to the airlines.

    As the table demonstrates the sweet spot is between 250-299, however, over time it will become essentially blue (Boeing).