Airlines Need New Planes, but the Supply Chain Has Other Ideas
We are finally seeing new aircraft arrive on the global market, including the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. But unlike the first Boeing 727, the 787 is intended for a narrow-body passenger plane, rather than an all-cargo aircraft.
On the other hand, the same people who build a plane are also building it, with a big advantage in terms of quality standards.
The other aircraft makers, notably Airbus, have been producing wide-body airplanes for years. These jets are still flying, but the airlines haven’t upgraded their fleets to them.
This means that the first carriers to have their first wide-body jet will have to wait a few years before they can offer the new flight decks the general public will be traveling on.
While that delay is unlikely to kill their sales, it’s also unlikely to make their sales grow. If a first wide-body jet doesn’t become a real threat to the regional airlines, it becomes an easy target for the carriers with the largest fleets.
In other words, Airbus hasn’t been pushing the new narrow-body airlines into taking delivery of planes. That doesn’t reflect poorly on Airbus. It’s probably not even really a good strategy.
Instead, the airlines will try to make the new aircrafts part of their current fleets, with all their baggage on them. Most likely, the new aircraft will be used on the regional airlines. Their customers will love the new planes, but they’ll never be able to offer them to travelers with bigger tickets who aren’t willing to pay a lot of premium prices.
At the same time, the traditional wide-body aircrafts will be fighting for their place on the same planes as the new narrow-body jets. They will have to stay competitive with the new planes.
That’s why carriers are waiting so long to introduce a new wide-body jet, they want to be the first to introduce it on their current routes, and they want to use aircraft that are already proven. That means they want to use aircraft that already can seat over 500 passengers.
They also don’t want to spend the extra money to build an entirely new aircraft. That would be like launching a new aircraft on a brand-new route, with one that has already been developed to a high standard.