Qantas A350ULR vs 777-8

Hey guy. So as we all know, Qantas is in talks with Boeing and Airbus about their Project Sunrise, where they hope to launch Sydney to London and Sydney to New York nonstop, among others. The most likely candidates are the A350-900ULR, and the Boeing 777-8X. However, there are issues with both of these planes. Qantas has stated that they want Airbus to make changes to it as it currently can’t properly operate the routes all that well, maybe just about. Meanwhile, the 777-8X specs are still just promises and it is not even clear how the aircraft will perform and all of that, so it is quite risky taking this gamble. Which way do you guys think that it will go? I personally feel like the A350ULR has a slight advantage as it is a more optimized airframe and needs simple modifications, is smaller and easier to fill, and is cheaper. The 777-8X on the other hand, is a heavy shrink and is quite expensive, and the exact specs of it aren’t exactly properly known yet and is bigger and more of a challenge to fill. However, it does seem like it will have better airfield performance which is crucial for ULR flights like these. and What do you guys think?

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Air New Zealand is considering same thing

777-8X or 350ULR

Sounds like a great topic! I do think that NZ will go 777X due to commonality with 787s but with Qantas, well…

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And commonality with 777-200ER and 777-300ER

If I were an airline, I think I’d wait and compare the two when they both get up.

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At this point I say ether because the 777-8 isn’t finished yet so if it dose turn out to be better than the A350ULR then that would suck for Qantas

I think Qantas will see what the A350 has to offer, and if it isn’t an easy sale they will wait for the 777-8.

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Air New Zealand will go for a 777-9 and 777-8. They already have the two variants of the triple seven. It costs way too much to convert all of them to learn how to program an airbus.

However with Qantas it all depends on loyalty. Qantas is loyal to Boeing mainly. And they will go for the 77 because they helped design it back in the 90’s.

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Wait they helped design 77 but don’t have any?!

They were wanting to get the even better 787. However they didn’t realise how badly they needed a aircraft like the 777-300. So they got the A330 for their Asian routes

I believe that it was largely due to stringent ETOPs rules in Austrialia back in the day. They bought the A330s later, largely to replace the 767s, from what I remember. I do think that the A330s and A380s can help with the A350 sales, but then again, you have the 787 as well. I do believe, however, that Boeings choice to optimize the 777X for the ME3 will come back to bite them in the butt later as it is pretty heavy and big and expensive and there is a limited market for that. I do feel like Qantas would only select the 777X if it has better airfield performance and range, otherwise, go for the A350ULR which is cheaper and smaller and has a large pool of common and similar type pilots. LH has a pool of pilots for A330/A340/A350 and I am sure that it wouldn’t be that much different from A380, less than A330 I believe. You do have 787 and 777X common type, but the group is much smaller than A330/A380. Very interesting to watch.

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Very good analysis @Captain-Daniel! While there is uncertainty surrounding the 777X and its weight, it is meant to be a purpose-built ULH aircraft, they are inherently heavy beasts. There is nothing we can do to get around that. There is a good chance it will hit Boeing performance targets. The only threat I can see is if Airbus offers some sort of PiP (Performance improvement Package) to the A350-900ULR to give it more payload capacity at the limits of its range.

In addition, QF has quite a few A380 they’re sending to the US, they need capacity for SYD-NYC/LON, I’m not sure if the A350-900ULR can offer enough versatility for those mission requirements.

Air Canada is in the process of transitioning their short-haul fleet from A320 to 737. If NZ can get the mission requirements they need at the right price from Airbus, they will go for it. Their long-haul pilot base isn’t that big.

Yes, one of the biggest missteps QF could’ve made. They went for a 747/A380 + 767/A330 combination when they thought air travel will continue to boom. When the market went bust, they had no right-sized long-haul aircraft that can fly the missions they need to Europe and ended up ceding the routes to EK with the exception of LHR. What they needed were 777-300ERs for their kangaroo routes out of SIN, but by the time the air travel market crashed, the 777 had a backlog so long it would’ve been too late. QF has been trying to make their long-haul operations work ever since by cutting most routes with lower demand and only keeping Asian mid-hauls and the highest-demand European/North American routes.

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It’s not an Airbus vs Boeing thread unless you make it one… The OP did a great job of talking about the options that QF has

What I think about QF is they’re going to get the B777-8, seating capacity gives out a lot for QF log haul considering their demand that is on the table for those routes

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This is where you fail to understand that another airline, Singapore airlines, will be using the A359ULR on WSSS-KJFK. But the kicker is they will have to limit their capacity just the same to get the range. The A350ULR has onky a slightly higher MTOW. Still not the amount as the MTOW of the B777-8. This is a major advantage for the B777-8. The 777-8 will have the range with only a slightly lower capacity but a larger amount compared to the A359ULR. This is where more powerful engines comes into play as the capacity takes only a slight hit compared when it comes to mazximizing the fuel needed. More capacity = higher profit per seat = lower fuel burn per seat. It is just straight economics. This is why the A350ULR will not surpase the orders of the 777-8. The 777-8 has way too much upside in terms of MTOW which will allow for more capacity on the longer hauls compared to the A350ULR. It is the same reason the B777-9 is outselling the A350-1000. The A350-1000’s MTOW is lower and that affects the seats you can put on for a comparable route with the B777-9. While the B778-9 has 360nm less range it is also having those numbers off of a MTOW of roughly 100,000lbs greater than the A350-1000. That difference in MTOW is what is killing the A350-1000 in comparision to the B777-9 and is what is killing the A350ULR in comparison to the B777-8

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I think Air New Zealand will go with the 350 becuase there’s not the demand for extra seating 777-8X offers.

Air New Zealand May buy 777-8X to replace 77W later on

Can you back this up. Because trust me, the capacity of the routes the 777-200 and 777-300 fly are very high. Example, Auckland-LA is very high demand. Seeing they’re about to start Chicago flights on a non-A350ULR I find it impossible that the flights the 777-8 and -9 would fly are low demand.

777-200ER and 350 are are same size 350 slightly bigger.

777-8 /9X could replace 777W but 777-200ER routes aren’t enough demand for 8X.

787 - For expansion into new markets
A350-900ULR - Moderate sizes markets and new ULR markets
777-300ER -biggest routes

And 170 seats is not enough for a 777-200 route

Once again, Air New Zealand is a smart airline, they ain’t switching from Boeing to Airbus on such an important aircraft. Some airlines are that dumb but trust me, Air New Zealand isn’t

I doubt ANZ will look into A350 just because they already have an existing Boeing 777 and 787 fleet for all their longhaul.

VHHH is currently a 772 route and it has high demand but they don’t have enough 77W planes for it.
I think a similar situation goes to YVR because Qantas sends a 744 seasonally to meet the demands, ANZ’s 772 simply cannot put up with summer demand so I think a long term 8X will be a good idea

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Not true ANZ barley full there 777W to LA they would not want to send them to Hong Kong or Vancouver.

350 is perfect size for medium sized destinations such as Hong Kong or Vancouver.