In a recent article about Vietnam Airlines, I asked about whether it was efficient to use longhaul aircraft on routes to Australia.

20 replies


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 26 May 2014

Total posts 314

So with a 4 hour time difference the departure time to arrival time Is 8 hours 45 min.  The error is the same as the time difference.  Web site needs fixing.


Member since 10 Dec 2015

Total posts 14

<<...its more 8h45min, slightly shorter than SYD-HKG...that's not a short haul route..>>

By typical industry definition, any duration @ 8hrs or longer starts to occupy the long-range/longhaul categories.  It's also near where new gen widebodies(e.g. 330Neo, 787, 350) start to deliver significant fuel burn savings over older gen types.

<<Boeing was going to produce a 787-3 with smaller wings for short operations>>

Partly /Indirectly correct.  More precisely, the shorter wing span is 99% due to customer demand to fit a 787 into narrower domestic /767-sized gates(i.e. IATA airport Cat D gate) rather than technically inherently good for <<short operations>> per se.  In fact, the 783 would be less fuel efficient than a 788(Both the customers and Boeing knew this) regardless of mission range exactly because of the reduced aero efficiency fm the shorter wingspan even though the fuselage dimension of both are exactly the same.  There were only 2 customers ever for the 783 and unsurprisingly, both were fm Japan where the largest gates in most domestic airports were Cat D when the orders were placed.

<<but cancelled it..>>

By both customers NH+JL by early 2010 and later officially by Boeing in the same yr for very good reasons:

1. It had been for sale for 6yrs+ since launch but never got beyond 2 customers @ a grand total of 50units when total sales for other 787 variants were already near 800 upon 783 cancellation.  If Boeing poured more $ into bringing 783 to the mkt, it would hv been a spectacular failure in program RoI.

2. By late 2009-10, the 787 program overall was already in deep developmental trouble with major impact to manufacturing/delivery(i.e. recouping loads of cash only occurs when delivery to loads of customer occurs).  Diverting precious financial+engineering resources fm fixing 788+789(And rapidly ramping up their production+delivery later) to developing 783 in 2009-10 must be the last thing on Boeing's mind back then.

3. By late 2009-10, NH+JL hv already been ravaged by historically high fuel prices like other carriers in the world.  Every last drop of fuel savings became top priority in fleet plan and 788 became more attractive than 783 @ NH+JL even for super short domestic hops.  In order to rapidly sweep the 783 under the rug, Boeing likely offered NH+JL to convert all their 783 order to 788 @ original 783 contract prices....much cheaper for Boeing to do this than to develop a 783 and its added  manufacturing complexity.

4.  By late 2009-10, Japan domestic mkt has shifted beyond recognition since early 2000.  A few powerful LCCs hv launched or were about to launch and the mkt has fragmented and as a result, fewer widebodies are needed.  At the same time, many airports hv decided to reconfig some gates into flexi-gates convertible between 2 narrowbody gates and 1 Cat E gate(Minimum for 788)....the need to fit a 787 into Cat D gates has dramatically dropped.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 09 Sep 2013

Total posts 107


From memory, Scoot uses Dreamliners on the SIN/PER route with a 4h50m flight time.


Member since 10 Dec 2015

Total posts 14

Efficiency(I assume U meant fuel efficiency) gains fm new tech is just 1 of a few key factors in fleet type deployment decision by an operator.

As mentioned in my reply/comment re the original article, daily utilization rate of a type(And therefore RoI for a company) also plays a major part(i.e. Park it and just pay the costly lease or fly it to make more $?).

<<Is using a 787-9 still cheaper...than using an A330-200?>>

If measured on equal op basis /assumptions(e.g. similar cabin density, same J seat design, payload per unit  fuel cost, etc.), I'll be extremely surprised if it is not and by a significant margin.

<<..787-9 is a bit bigger than the A330-200.>>

By your definition, would U call the 333 <<a bit bigger than the>> 332?  Would U call 40 more seats just <<a bit>> more seats? 

If yes, I can understand your statement above but the problem is:  Why would Airbus spent so much $ to develop a 330 variant which is only <<a bit>> smaller than the 333?

If no, 333 is significantly larger than the 332(Btw, this distinction is more commonly accepted by the industry), then how the hell can a 789 be just <<a bit bigger than the A330-200>>?  789 and 333/339(Neo) hv almost exactly the same total useble cabin floor area.  Don't take my words for it, check the cabin layouts @ AC or VS.  They operate both 789 and 333 in longhaul config today.

Even if a 789 and a 332 use exactly the same amount of fuel flying empty seats(i.e. trip fuel burn), their CASM(Cost per Avg Seat Mile) will be vastly diff simply because of their diff cabin sizes.....and I hv not even counted the increase in Rev$ cargo potential on SGN-SYD:  332=LD3 x26 vs 789-LD3 x36! 


Member since 20 May 2015

Total posts 109


Thanks for that. You're absolutely right about the cargo aspect... the 787-9 carries more cargo than the A330-300.

Regarding capacity, yeah, 40 seats isn't a meaningless number... although QF's configuration has the difference at 30 seats rather than 40 seats (post-refurb A330-200 has 270 seats, post-refurb A330-300 is 300 basically). Either way I think you're taking a semantic issue too seriously. "A bit" is an imprecise term and not something to blow up over.

Thanks for the information about the other considerations though. Obviously the cargo is a big one.


Member since 10 Dec 2015

Total posts 14

<<...787-9 carries more cargo than the A330-300.>>

I was comparing belly cargo cap 789 vs 332, not 789 vs 333.  But U are still correct:

789=LD3 x36 vs 333/339=LD3 x32

Basically, the 789 is 1 hell of a cargo hauler for its size/seatcount because even the larger 359(Has a slightly longer cabin & therefore more useble cabin floor area than 789) also manage just LD3 x36 and even the giant 388 only carries 2 more LD3s than a 789.  In recent decades, Boeing seems to hv a fixation on ensuring every new widebody design, large or small, has lots of belly cargo space....

<<QF's configuration has the difference at 30 seats rather than 40 seats...>>

The <<40 seats>> I referred to was an approx. figure based purely on the nominal(a.k.a. manufacturer brochure) seat count published.  Pretty sure U're already aware that operators almost never exactly follow nominal configs re cabin.

<< A330-200 has 270 seats, post-refurb A330-300 is 300 basically..>>

Totally expected because for QF fleet today, those 332s are intended mainly for domestic ops(plus some short int'l routes no more than 6hrs) while those 333s are intended for longer int'l ops(Upto 9-10hrs.  In fact, U won't find any currently running domestic schedule).  Typically in any carrier, U'll find larger cabin floor area devoted to lavs+galleys instead of seats on int'l vs domestic config cabin.  E.g., U can easily see there's only 1 lav for 28J seats on 332 while there're 2 lavs also for 28J seats on 333 as per QF seat maps.

If in similar cabin config+J vs Y ratio, we'll see a diff of about 40seats 332 vs 333.

<<'re taking a semantic issue too seriously...>>

But semantic defines the answer to your original very tech-related question/query about airliner economics.  I didn't make this up, seatcount is a precise metric used by this industry to measure relative fuel burn efficiency 1 type vs another mostly because no 2 types hv ever had exactly the same nominal seatcounts(Even when they're very close such as 333/339 vs 789, they've very diff payload/range performance).

<<...cargo is a big one.>>

Usually missed by those looking @ a deployment decision purely fm the pax/cabin angle.  In longhaul widebody ops these days, belly cargo generates 1 of the highest op profit margin for an operator.......often higher than a deeply discounted Y seat(i.e. airlines sometimes rather carry 1 more unit of cargo than 1 more Y pax @ equivalent weight) especially on medium/long-haul routes such as SGN-SYD.  CX famously used to run(May be still does) 333 pax jet to/fm Japan on red-eye flights purely to carry belly cargo with no Rev$ pax is that profitable.

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