Airbus, Boeing to battle for multi-billion dollar Qantas order

As Qantas’ current Boeing 737s approach retirement age, the airline will soon select their replacement.

By Chris Chamberlin, March 16 2021
Airbus, Boeing to battle for multi-billion dollar Qantas order

Qantas is preparing to reshape its domestic fleet, with the current Boeing 737-800 workhorse jets being replaced by either new fleet of Airbus A320neo-family or Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

At stake in the familiar Airbus vs Boeing contest is a multi-billion-dollar contract as the airline looks beyond the expected 2023-2024 timeframe for recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and through to the 2040s.

It’s a project the airline had expected to embark upon last year, after putting Project Sunrise to bed – but both were sidelined by the sudden impact and immediate priority of COVID-19.

While this gave the Roo a little more time in its pouch to make that call, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce admits “we have to replace the domestic fleet over the next decade.”

“Now is the time to order aircraft because the prices are very good,” Joyce told The Australian Financial Review's Business Summit earlier this month.

“We know that aircraft prices are very attractive out there, so it’s a big opportunity for us to get really low prices for some period of time.”

Joyce said the domestic fleet was one of “two big projects that we'll have on,” the other being to revisit plans for non-stop Project Sunrise flights, which have the potential to take off in mid-2024 with strong appeal to passengers who'd rather fly direct and avoid stopovers.

“We will be … looking to undertake a renewal of our domestic narrow-body fleet, and will be planning to launch that sometime this year,” Qantas Group CFO Vanessa Hudson recently confirmed.

Many would see the upcoming battle as Boeing's to lose. Nearly every travelling Australian will have stepped aboard a Qantas Boeing 737, with the single-aisle jets flying in kangaroo colours since 1993.

Today, the oldest Boeing 737 in the Qantas stable arrived in 2002, putting it at 19 years of age, and close to the milestone ’20 years’ at which Qantas most often aims to retire aircraft.

Airbus A320neo vies for victory

In the Airbus corner sits the A320neo family of planes, for which the European manufacturer already has its foot in the door at Qantas.

Jetstar has long used the standard Airbus A320 as the base of its domestic fleet in Australia – as well as at Jetstar Asia and Jetstar Japan – with QantasLink also flying A320s on selected routes in Western Australia.

Beyond this, the Qantas Group has a staggering order in place for 109 Airbus neo jets, spread across 45 A320neos and 64 A321neos.

The latter includes both the A321LR and A321XLR variants, designed for long and thin routes, including international flights.

Many planes among the 109-strong order are expected for Jetstar, but Joyce has left the door open to some joining the Qantas ranks instead.

“We’ll take a decision closer to the time (of delivery) about which parts of the Group will use these aircraft, but there is plenty of potential across Qantas and Jetstar,” Joyce has previously said.

“We’ll also take a view on whether they are used to replace older aircraft or whether they are used for growth, which will depend on what’s happening in the market.”

Boeing 737 MAX returns to the skies

On the other hand, Qantas basing its future domestic fleet around the Boeing 737 MAX would be to continue a legacy dating back to 1993, when Qantas added the first Boeing 737 to its roster.

Back then, it was the Boeing 737-300, shortly followed by the 737-400: both of which have since departed, and been replaced by the Boeing 737-800s currently flying in Qantas colours.

Qantas' familiar Boeing 737-800 will need to be replaced over the coming years.
Qantas' familiar Boeing 737-800 will need to be replaced over the coming years.

Those are the very planes that Qantas is now looking to supersede.

Even so, selling the MAX will be a challenge for Boeing, and one that follows the plane being grounded globally for nearly two years, after two fatal crashes took the lives of 346 people.

Aviation authorities – including those in Australia – now consider the plane safe to return to the skies, but for airlines flying the MAX, convincing passengers of as much becomes the next struggle.

Read: Air Canada lets travellers change flights to avoid the MAX

Airbus A320neo vs Boeing 737 MAX

The battle between Boeing and Airbus will surely be a tough call for Qantas, with both companies competing for the billion-dollar order.

Airbus would see the victory as a momentous win over Boeing, defeating the Boeing 737’s run of 28 years (and counting) as the Qantas domestic stalwart.

Particularly considering the Qantas Group’s existing A320neo order, and the Roo’s plan to buy Airbus’ A350-1000 for Project Sunrise flights, the company could well be prepared to offer a significant discount on the purchase to bolster its delivery backlog.

As well, knowing that some travellers remain nervous about the Boeing 737 MAX – which Qantas’ rival Virgin Australia has already chosen for its own future fleet – starting fresh with the A320neo could assuage any anxious travellers across from Virgin in the years to come.

Boeing, on the other hand, would be very keen to ink a new order for the Boeing 737 MAX: particularly from an airline with the safety reputation of Qantas.

To secure a MAX deal – and the positive publicity and safety endorsement that a Qantas order would generate – Boeing would also be highly motivated to give Qantas its best possible price.

Qantas choosing the MAX would also make it no less attractive to nervous flyers than its rival, which plans to operate the same plane: and Qantas already has some indirect experience with the MAX, courtesy of Fiji Airways.

Fiji Airways' Boeing 737 MAX 8 business class
Fiji Airways' Boeing 737 MAX 8 business class

Fiji’s national carrier – in which Qantas owns a 46% stake – took delivery of its first Boeing 737 MAX 8 in December 2018, although the number of MAX flights Fiji Airways has operated have been limited, both due to the grounding, and as a result of subsequent international border restrictions.

In recent years, Boeing has also been teasing a twin-aisle ‘NMA’ (New Midsize Aircraft), which Qantas had shown interest in.

But with the headaches around Boeing’s 737 MAX grounding and re-entry into service – compounded with delays to the company’s separate Boeing 777X debut – it’s uncertain whether the NMA would be finished, built, certified, and flying on a timeline suitable for Qantas.

When would Qantas need new domestic aircraft?

Normally, Qantas keeps planes until they reach roughly 20 years of age.

Had it not been for COVID-19, that would see its need for a Boeing 737 replacement rising in January 2022, when the airline’s oldest 737-800 hits that 20-year mark.

However, with the Roo’s Boeing 737s flying less than normal over the past year, the airline expects to get an extra “0.8 years” (9.6 months) of life from each of these jets at a bare minimum, pushing that deadline to around October 2022.

As well, Qantas can perform additional maintenance that would allow it to safely keep those planes in the air for a further 4-6 years, if it chooses to.

In a recent presentation to investors, Qantas confirmed it had the “opportunity to extend retirement age from ~20 years to ~24-26 years” by performing what’s known as a ‘D check’ at the 24-year point, combined with other maintenance techniques.

Qantas compares its traditional maintenance approach with its options amid COVID-19.
Qantas compares its traditional maintenance approach with its options amid COVID-19.

Qantas says these aircraft are designed to fly safely for up to 40 years with the right maintenance, but as planes get older, maintenance costs increase. Those expenses can make purchasing a new plane more economically viable than continuing to maintain an older jet.

By performing enough maintenance to push its planes from 20 to even 24-26 years of flying before retirement, this would defer the need for new planes until late 2026, if not late 2028, assuming new deliveries were only to replace retired jets.

Qantas’ regional fleet also moving towards an upgrade

Beyond the Boeing 737s of Qantas’ mainline fleet, its regional arm QantasLink operates smaller Fokker 100s and Boeing 717-200 jets.

In an all-economy layout, these planes carry 100 and 125 passengers respectively, with QantasLink’s two-class Boeing 717s accommodating 110 travellers across 12 business class seats and 98 economy seats.

At the right time, these planes will also come up for replacement, and Airbus is making sure its A220 is front-of-mind at Qantas.

In late 2019, Airbus flew an A220 down to Sydney – kitted out from tip to tail with Qantas branding on every headrest, to welcome Alan Joyce and fellow executives on board for an experiential flight – and the company seems to have made an impression.

Airbus' A220 adopts a 2-3 seating layout.
Airbus' A220 adopts a 2-3 seating layout.

“It looks like a very good aircraft, it’s very quiet, and I think passengers will love it,” Joyce said after the flight.

“It’s a great replacement to the Boeing 717: not too dissimilar in configuration, but with a lot more overhead bin space, a lot more space in the cabin, even the toilets are big.”

Airbus A220 nudges in front, but pricing an issue

The challenge for Airbus will be getting the price right – with the sticker sitting in the region of US$81 million to US$91.5 million – which Joyce flagged as being too high.

“For us to buy it, it has to be a lot cheaper than the prices we’ve been seeing,” he says.

As well, QantasLink’s “Boeing 717s are very reliable and the F100s are very low utilisation, so there’s no rush, we have a bit of time,” nodding to Airbus that the airline won’t be rushed on buying.

More recently, Qantas has forged a partnership with Australia’s Alliance Airlines, which will operate Embraer E190 jets under a ‘wet lease’ agreement with QantasLink for at least a three-year period.

This buys Qantas more time to place what could be the Group’s largest single order, spanning its needs across regional, domestic, and international flying, and taking the airline through until at least the mid-2040s, before it's time to do it all again.

Also read: Qantas could buy the A220, so here's what it's like to fly

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

08 Sep 2018

Total posts 19

The Jetstar order is probably too heavy for its own self so I would probably expect a smaller MAX order to compliment some Airbus narrowbodies in QF. 

Jetstar Japan have said they are not sourcing their aircraft from this order. Jetstar cannot drop 110 aircraft in its fleet either, a quarter are only delivered in the last decade. 

I think most people given a choice would prefer to see Airbus win this with the A320neo or 321neo. Most Australians are very familiar with the Boeing 737s but if you've had the chance to fly in one of the newer Airbus jets you really can appreciate the difference in terms of the passenger experience. They're wider, quieter, more modern inside. It would obviously be a massive shift for Qantas, need to have all cabin crew retrained but Qantas would take this into account and expect Airbus to help offset those costs. But this could really let Qantas put massive distance between them and Virgin.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Sep 2017

Total posts 7

I think the head room that you get on an A320 Is better than a 737. As well as from an outsider looking in, would the A320 have more cargo capacity? 

Also, what would people think if Qantas bought some A321’s and upgraded business class for domestic. 

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 288

Don't know about cargo, this site is for people who fly not for cargo-types LOL

I suppose Qantas could get some A321s with a better business class for east-west, but does it need that complexity of a 'split fleet' of aircraft that are roughly similar compared to the very different capacities of say the 737 vs the A330? I think for the size of the Australian market you want something like Qantas already has, which is a smaller-sized single-aisle as your domestic workhorse and some short-range overseas routes (eg NZ, Bali) and a medium-sized twin-aisle for some domestic routes plus short- to medium-range overseas routes (can also be NZ and Bali but mainly Asia).

This was actually what Alan Joyce wanted for the Boeing 787s, for all those orders the airline has not called in, which was for the 787 to replace the A330s on mainly east-west plus Asia while also having the range for long-haul. It would have been a very flexible arrangement.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Jun 2019

Total posts 7

I have to book electric wheelchair customers on domestics and the B737 can’t fit them due to height whilst the A320 can easily, somehow Airbus’ hold space is 2 feet better so Jetstar wins that business every time as a result 

If it wasn't for all the problems with the MAX and the extensive publicity surrounding it and the way the MAX brand now leaves a bad taste with pretty much every member of the public, the 737 MAX would probably have been fine for Qantas, no need to change what has worked pretty well for decades. But there's simply no getting around the downsides of the MAX brand now, and I think Qantas would benefit by walking away from it and embracing the Airbus alternative.

99% of punters do no know the difference between any models of 737. Even seen punters getting on a VARA or Qantaslink A320, no know it was even an airbus, as in Virgin/Qantas colours. Ryanair has renamed their 737 max's 737-8200s or something similar. I think very few people will not want to fly a 737 max.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1294

Regular given the publicity I suspect those that know about the 737 Max story is greater than one per cent.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2013

Total posts 31

Until recently my wife was MD of a large business for over ten years, travelling regularly interstate and sometimes internationally. She had no idea what aircraft type she waa flying with one exception, the A380. Her bookings always favoured airlines with the big Airbus, like Qantas and Emirates. Apart from that she had no interest in aircraft type, and on non-A380 airlines judged things by the quality of the business class, for example, Air France was on the nose, Singapore much favoured. She was a "professional" traveller, so outside of the A380 I really think most people simply don't care what type they are flying. Qantas decisions will be made totally on dollars, not customer preference. They simply don't care. 

07 Nov 2020

Total posts 14

@ regular flyer.  I think it's more than 1% who will care.  Also looking at it from a purely risk perspective, what if there's even one more crash of a 737 MAX?  It will be game over for the type.  That is a major risk for any airline ordering the plane now.  Another crash for whatever reason will end the plane.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jul 2016

Total posts 9

The problem is the "quality airline" has a fuselarge narrower than the "budget airline". Surely Qantas needs to maximise the width of it's seats compared with rivals. 

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 288

Hmmm, Qantas usually likes to have orders with both manufacturers so that neither gets complacent, I wonder if Qantas might actually flip things around and settle on the Airbus A320neo or A321neo for domestic and short-range international, including some LRs and even XLRs too, but also take up more of the Boeing 787-9 orders and have this take on the sort of A330 role on domestic while also becoming the backbone of its international fleet across Asia and to the rest of the world?

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 926

I expect this is unlikely to be a one or the other order.  

Boeing will be super-keen to retain QF as a 737 customer so will offer probably unbeatable pricing for the MAX so I'd expect most of the 738s to be replaced by the MAX.

QF will probably look at using the A321NEO to replace the older A332s.  These smaller aircraft have much lower operating costs over smaller sectors and enable better frequencies.  Where QF needs the space of the A330s, they still have a number of younger planes as well as the option of moving the JQ 787-8s to mainline domestic as JQ receives its long-range A321s.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

28 Jun 2019

Total posts 80

Moving to Airbus makes sense for a few reasons:

- The A320neo family would be a solid replacement for the 737s over time (and is a nicer experience from a passenger perspective).

- The A321neo would fit in nicely on busier domestic routes while also opening up thinner routes and markets further afield in Asia and the Pacific that aren't currently viable with the higher-capacity aircraft required to have sufficient range. Boeing can't compete in this space with its current offerings.

- The A220 is a perfect replacement for ageing 717s and Fokkers. Again, Boeing doesn't offer any competition.

- The A330s could then stay on for transcontinental flights domestically and while the 787s will certainly be a staple of the long-haul network, the A350 could easily be brought in as well, especially for Project Sunrise. 

That all said, Alan loves a deal and Boeing is desperate; the question may be how low Airbus is willing to go.

14 Oct 2016

Total posts 98

I'd say the smart thing would be to dip into the 110 a320/1 that they already have on order and replace some of the older 737s with a321s that could be used on routes where more capacity can be added.

As they still have many 737s that are not to old, they can wait a little on the bulk of the fleet, just adding the a321s to cover the old fleet retirements. One advantage in this is Boeing might eventually see they light and start the 737 replacement programme. This way Qantas does get stuck with 737 maxes that no one wants. 

Qantas could also look at the a220 as a replacement too as it has the range to cover all of Australia and might be particularly good at the long thin routes. 

20 Oct 2015

Total posts 168

I've flown several times on the A320neo/A321neo overseas, also did some Boeing 737 MAX flights before the MAX was grounded, and honestly from a passenger's perspective the Airbus is just so far ahead. Given the 'issues' with the MAX in terms of how the public feel about it, this seems a no-brainer decision for Qantas, as long as AJ gets the price he wants including the cost of having all pilots and crew trained for the Airbus.

QFF

19 Sep 2013

Total posts 170

Based in PER so avoid flying in 737s as much as possible. Horrible aircraft for long flights.

American Airlines - AAdvantage

02 Jun 2019

Total posts 16

With the bad news surrounding the MAX and Qantas ordering A350-1000 for the nonstops to London this is an Airbus order.    Boeing would have to " give away" the MAX to get Qantas to order them.       Launching the NMA would be Boeing's best chance.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Mar 2015

Total posts 89

I don't know why Qantas would want to deal with the fall out from the MAX failures (mechanical and PR) unless Boeing made the price positively irresistible.  That said Boeing NMA is probably worth keeping a eye on for next cycle. 

It is sad but after the brilliance of the 787 (again pr and mechanically) Boeing dropped the ball. The next 20 years are Airbus'.

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 415

Given the expose behind the internal mail by Boeing employees regarding the 737 Max design and manufacturing process, there is much concern about the culture and blasé attitudes of the Boeing leadership before the 2 fatal accidents and even more so with their denial of problems in the face of evidence (even trying to shift the blame to carriers based in 3rd world countries) until sufficient US pilot concerns put enough pressure on US authorities or FAA to shut down 737 max usage in US airspace 

They may say the lighting would not hit the same spot twice, but 737 max did precisely that. No money can buy QF it’s current air safety record (AJ learnt that lesson with the QF A380 RR engine incident) and any savings from a deal with Boeing is false economy.

Given that Boeing’s response was pretty much like RR, flatly denying any problem initially, meant the damage by the 2 fatal crashes did more than harm to just one particular model in the Boeing lineup, but also the entire corporate of Boeing itself. Recent report of poor quality output as a result of shifting factories interstate meant 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer P1

23 Aug 2014

Total posts 68

Thanks Chris for a balanced article which discusses the pros and cons of each option well 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 438

Most of the flying public have no idea what sort of aircraft their on, so whether it is a MAX or not is of no matter. (And indeed, as some other airlines have done, Qantas could simply brand them B737-800.)  If the price of the 737 is better than the A320, AJ will go with Boeing. But they will buy some A321LR and XLR aircraft for Jetstar (and maybe a small subfleet for Qantas mainline).

The A220 is a clear winner as replacement for the B717s, unless Qantas makes a big leap and decides to embrace the Embraer 190.

And to throw a grenade into the mix - remember that Qantas has not yet ordered the A350 for Project Sunrise. Over the past 18 months, Boeing has done a lot more work on the 777X. Expect them to repitch before Qantas actually places an order.

P1
P1

24 Apr 2017

Total posts 76

If I was Joyce, I wouldn't take the B737-MAX if Boeing PAID ME to take them!

28 Mar 2018

Total posts 27

Trouble with any 737, the windows are too low when I'm seated.

This is the main reason why the 737 feels much smaller to me than the A320 family regardless of the actual dimensions.

16 Nov 2018

Total posts 29

It's like buying a car. Both cars are favourites and competitive. You want to flip a coin for it. Just as you toss the coin off your fingers, you already have an answer in mind. I bet QF does too.

Seriously when you come to think of it Boeing really don't have much left to offer when it comes to aircraft, their only flagship planes they really have to offer are th

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 May 2018

Total posts 36

There is one other consideration that hasn't been discussed. Baggage loading on a Qantas 737 is 2 in the holds, 2 loading the belt, one driving the tug and a supervisor. Have noticed that the Jetstar A320's require 2 in total as the baggage is all in containers. 

When you come to think of it Boeing really don't have much to offer in their range of aircraft to what Airbus have to offer, the only long range flagship aircraft that Boeing has is their 787 Dreamliner. The 747's are out and gone, 767's are out and even their 757's as well. So what are they left with 787's and 737's.  The 737's can also probably do long range but up to a certain distance. Technically speaking this plane is still based on a very old platform which dated back from 1967, 53 years ago.  Over the years they have just added to it, tried to advanced it etc, glass cockpit etc and than introduced the MAX which turned out to be a failure. I flew on Virgin 737-800 a while back from Sydney to Perth, originally  was meant to be a Airbus A330, but due to some lightning strike damage to the A330, we we transferred to the 737. Honestly speaking I could not wait for that plane to land in Perth, awful, noisy, cramped etc, even the A320 is a far superior aircraft, much quieter too. Boeing are now in very stiff competition with Airbus, cause Airbus are developing good aircraft. Let's take a look at what Airbus have to offer. A220's, A330's, A350's (Long Range), A380's (not out of production as yet) and also their variants as well, where I think that some of their NEO variants like the A32NEO can fly further distance than the 737 MAX.  My other question here is the A220 actually made by Bombardier and not Airbus. I am sure Boeing will somewhat twist Alan Joyce's hand somehow to make him buy their old crappy out of date 737 aircraft, long as her gets  good deal lol.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Mar 2014

Total posts 23

Qantas must understand social media - the Max will not fair well in the fleet of the "safest airline in the world".

I hope Qantas rips the band-aid off and goes for it with an A220/320/321 combo.  This is a fascinating situation... Qantas will be able to buy 737 Max at rock bottom prices maybe even cheaper than they purchased the current fleet of NG's.  If the Max went through a new aircraft approval process it does not and would not meet current standards for new aircraft.  The 1960's design, old cable model controlling the aircraft, 1980's computing power (complete with software patches) and 2018 engine power that had to be moved forward and up on the wings to make them fit!  

I can see a new airline Max free will emerge in Australia.  Be careful what might look like a good deal could backfire!

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 603

Qantas would be committing corporate suicide going with the MAX. The first hint of a problem, should they acquire them, would be death by guillotine. Even if the general public don’t know what they’re flying on the sensationalist press will ensure everyone knows Qantas chose and now flies death trap aircraft built by a criminal company. Qantas could never hope to buy back its ‘safest airline in the world’ reputation - would be gone forever. This is beyond a Boring / Airbus battle-it’s about Qantas hard won reputation. 

04 Dec 2017

Total posts 65

I agree. Qantas couldn’t ever hope to buy back its legendary safety reputation if something went wrong. 

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1294

John I half agree. I think the 777 horse has bolted, the 777-9 is delayed too long for them to ponder a 777-8 not being delivered before 2025. I do think Qantas will ease into the 737 replacement. The A321XLR will go (in part at least) to Qantas mainline as will other A321s. They may order some 737 MAXs to make a mixed fleet but also the A220 comes into play, so much price haggling to happen, but I suspect Qantas has made its mind up already.

29 Jan 2020

Total posts 27

If, god forbid there is one more fatal MAX crash, the aircraft, will be one massive liability for any Airline that has them.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

11 Dec 2014

Total posts 8

Why does everyone ignore the Embraer E195 E2. ? An amazing aircraft that can do the same job as both "big name" carriers.

Given the sub contract company has wet leased the E190 this alone should make the bean counters think twice.

Remember the old saying "Buying the cheapest, isn't always the best financial choice in the long run". If the 737Max has even a whiff of any other trouble, you wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot pole, so why take that risk?

07 Nov 2020

Total posts 14

@boeing727.  I agree.  One more crash of a MAX for whatever reason will be the end of the type.  The risk and governance people in Qantas hopefully have that on their risk register....  

18 Mar 2021

Total posts 1

I agree that Qantas should go for Airbus for the many reasons already identified in the above comments. All of the problems with the MAX were caused by Boeing retrofitting an old aircraft design to try to match a modern one in the NEO. Also, the brand distinction and advantages of using a 21st rather than 20th century aircraft as compared to Virgin is something that marketers dream about and can leverage over the decades that these aircraft will be competing with each other in Oz. I agree with others that flying in the 737 is not the most enjoyable experience especially for longer hops (MEL-PER, MEL-CNS). Every flight that I've been on has had issues with hand luggage space, and the noise difference is quite evident as you would expect from the old vs new designs. And the systemic issues surrounding the MAX do not engender confidence - there is no way that I'd choose to fly in one. I was never a fan of Virgin, but they've now lost me totally as a potential customer due to their decision - obviously motivated by cost alone - to go for the MAX. So it is a defining aspect of the underlying safety culture for both airlines. If AJ follows Virgin rather than duly weighting Q's hard won safety reputation and the lifecycle cost advantages of Airbus, I might have to get used to driving everywhere - good 'grey nomad' practice I suppose. And Q's brand distinction (based on its real or perceived focus and reputation for safety) would be gone forever.

Air Canada - Aeroplan

02 Sep 2015

Total posts 17

The Boeing 737 is an aged design which should have been abandoned years ago. It was designed before high bypass turbofans were thought of , and the early JT8D engines could easily be hung under the wings. This permitted the use of a short , and hence light , undercarriage permitting easy low loading of baggage. This was an excellent solution in 1958 but Boeing have suffered from the installation problems of high diameter engines ever since , with the Max problems arising directly from the failure to increase ground clearance at the first re-engining program. Boeing also failed to increase the undercarriage length on the 707 and were unable to stretch its fuselage significantly , while Douglas used a longer undercarriage from the start , allowing them to lengthen the DC-8 by 35 ft.  The A320 was a much later design, allowing for adequate ground clearance from the start. Also the fuselage was designed to be 7 in wider than the 737/727/707/757 allowing for 1 in on each seat and 1 in on the aisle. There was a time when Boeing could count on their home market not buying foreign aircraft, but South West appear to be the only major US carrier who has not bought Airbus aircraft. As many contributors have pointed out, any major incident on the Max would almost certainly be the end of the program.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 331

What with the problems of the MAX crashes and the ongoing quality problems with the B787... Boeing is on the back foot hear completely.

Some have said that your average PAX doesn’t know which aircraft they are flying on and don’t care. I disagree! They might not know, however, they do care!! And I for one will avoid Boeing aircraft as much as possible. I HATE the Nightmare liner and the MAX is a 60 year old design with loads of tweaks yes, but still comfort levels are dismal compared with A321neo’s. 

Not an Airbus fan boy, just someone who pays attention and doesn’t like the cowboy culture of Boeing one bit!! 

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 361

I hope they go the a320 variants when it comes time to move on from the 737-800.history will tell us and this goes back to TAA/Australian days they looked at the original version of the Airbus in the eighties when it came time to move on from the 727-200 when those were in the process of being phased out.i know they went 733 to replace the DC9 from 1986-1989 but it was either the md80 variants or the a320 that were the 722 replacement contenders.QF if we exclude Dash 8 and A330/A380 was a boeing always company for weird reasons with the exception of the inherited a300's from TN in the nineties.I always as a kid looked for what kind of plane I would fly on without fail it was either a 727 or 737.my only domestic other than Jetstar experience on say an a320 to date was in 1998 on Ansett.other than that I always scored a Boeing domestically the other one being a 767.


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