Monday, 11 November 2013

This and That...

- The multiplier effect of more:  Boeing 's delivery of at least a few 787s to a wide range of customers is having the desired effect. The aircraft is being seen in more and more colours , more and more frequently and at more and more airports in more and more parts of the world. It has gone global remarkably quickly and the more it is seen about the more confidence it it grows. This is a good recipe for getting it established, something that grows in importance every day as the A 350 , now with 5 fuselages complete and two aircraft in the air, snaps on its heels with an in service date early into the second half of next year. Then it is the 350's turn to start seriously snapping at the heels not only of the 787 but also the much more distant 777X. The game is on.

-A piece of research recently conducted for Airbus by the London Sleep Centre reveals that there is a world of difference between an economy seat which is 17 inches wide and one that goes the extra inch to 18. A great difference might be stretching it a bit but as the Tesco people say "Every little helps". Entirely coincidentally of course this answer certainly helps Airbus. It just happens to fit well with their fuselage widths but sadly not Boeing's. Starting with the smallest, the A320 series fuselage is 6 inches wider than the 737's. On the 320 therefore 6 abreast 18 inch wide seats fit nicely. On the 737 they don't . Not if you want a half useable aisle anyway. The same sort of thing happens going right up the range to the 777 whose best economics are achieved with a 10 abreast economy cabin. That can't be done with 18 inch wide seats but is just fine for 17 inch ones. Even at 9 abreast the 777 can only comfortably (?) offer 17 and a half inches  whereas the 5 ins wider new A350 can manage 18 inches. Funny that. No surprise either that Airbus should want 18 inches to become an industry standard.

-"Fortune favours the brave". British Prime Minister David Cameron courageously reminded his nation of this Latin proverb just a couple of weeks ago, happily when speaking about proposed new High Speed rail line HS2. Unfortunately his classical education doesn't seem to stay front of mind for long when it comes to aviation or, to be more precise, the Conservative "Say No To...."constituencies around Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. Consideration had been under way to relax or modify some of the night movements restrictions so as to create some more capacity, especially at Heathrow. The outcome is a handbrake turn and the smell of buring rubber, not early morning kerosine. A decision is deferred for 3 years until 2016. That's after the snails' pace "Dont report back until after the Election" Davies Report on southern England's future airport runway capacity needs goes public in the second half of 2015. The linkage of the two studies is absurd and dishonest. The night flight restrictions issue is about "Now". The Davies Report is about at least 10 to 15 years hence if sites other than Heathrow are chosen. If fortune does indeed favour the brave, Mr Cameron's and British aviation's futures are both bleak.

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