Newsgroups: clari.tw.aerospace Distribution: clari.apo Subject: Airbus Plans 850-Seat Planes Keywords: General financial/business news Copyright: 1994 by The Associated Press, R Message-ID:
Date: Wed, 7 Sep 94 12:40:17 PDT Expires: Wed, 28 Sep 94 12:40:17 PDT ACategory: financial Slugword: Jumbo-Airbus Priority: regular ANPA: Wc: 481/0; Id: V0896; Src: ap; Sel: -----; Adate: 09-07-N/A; V: 0488 Codes: APO-1310 Lines: 52 FARNBOROUGH, England (AP) -- The European planemaker Airbus Industrie on Wednesday released its most detailed plans yet for a double-decker long range jet carrying up to 850 passengers -- and maybe even an onboard gym. The mammoth four-engine airplanes would cost about $8 billion to develop, with a price tag to customers of $200 million apiece, said Jean-Jacques Huber, project manager for the jets still dubbed the A3XX. By releasing proposed configurations for the jets, Airbus was attempting to move a step ahead, at least on the public relations front, of rival Boeing Co., which is not yet convinced airlines will be interested. Boeing is nonetheless discussing possible cooperations on such a project with the French, German, British and Spanish members of the Airbus consortium. ``We deal in market reality -- we're not floating paper airplanes,'' Boeing spokesman T. Craig Martin said. Although jets with twice the capacity of existing long-haul airplanes sound alluring for coming decades when air traffic is forecast to double and then triple, many industry executives have their doubts. Routes into congested Asian airports are the most likely candidates for the big jets. But if airlines rely less on big hub airports, as they have over the Atlantic, critics say the big planes could become a costly boondoggle. Supersonic jets could provide another form of competition in the next century. Boeing and McDonnell Douglas Corp. are looking into technology for a big supersonic jet that could fly round trip between Los Angeles and Tokyo twice a day. But Airbus believes there will be a market for 1,000 of the big jets it is considering. Speaking to reporters at the Farnborough International '94 air show, Huber said the giant jets would weigh more than 1,000,000 pounds when loaded, but he said they could take off and land on airport runways now used by big airplanes, and use engines now available. Airbus hopes to complete a feasibility study by 1995, possibly launching the program around 1998 and putting the jets into the air around 2003. The big jets could fit as many as 10 economy class passengers in each row. But the sheer size of the airplane could give airlines freedom to build rooms on the bottom cargo deck that could be used as fitness centers, business areas or lounges the size of a small apartment, Huber suggested. The jets would have a range of 7,000 nautical miles or more, depending on the number of passengers, meaning they could fly non-stop on most routes, excluding such super-long journeys as London to Australia or New Zealand. Despite the large number of passengers sitting on two decks, Airbus said it would be able to install emergency equipment able to evacuate everybody within 90 seconds, as regulations require. Some notes from Airbus contacts: Many of the planes problems are yet to be solved. The numbers are very much under debate internally and are confidential anyway. But it would be more of a 600 than a 800 passenger aircraft, the span would be limited to 80m and the length would be limited to 80m. Aeroelastic deflection would of the wing would be very severe and will be counteracted by active aeroelastic ailerons. The Mach number would be higher than the A340 probably 0.85, the wing's sweep will probably be less than an A340.