August 2012

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My Airbus dossier takeaway: The 787-9 is the killer app

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My biggest take away on the Airbus dossier is that the European company sees the Boeing 787-9 as the killer app. Rarely, has the first generation iteration of a Boeing jetliner been delivered in great volume.

The 727-100, 737-100, 747-100, 767-200 and 777-200 did not define their respective programs. With the exception of the 757-200, first generation airliners aren't largely produced.

Take the 767-300ER for example. That aircraft accounts for more than half of the 950+ 767 deliveries during the production run. The 767-200ER runs a distant second with 121 deliveries. The -300ER entered service in 1988, six years after the first 767-200 delivery.

Boeing sold the 787-8 as 2nd/3rd generation mature technology (a la 777-300ER) in a 1st generation package, which explains its sales success. Full technological maturity by EIS, it's a very attractive offer. The reality is that 1st generation technology is still 1st generation and Boeing has already said that the 787-9 will be the biggest recipient of Boeing's 787 lessons learnt.

With Boeing, Airbus, Embraer and Bombardier all forecasting an up-gauge in the overall size of aircraft, the 787-9 with more seats, will likely be the beneficiary of this trend for Boeing. The 900 orders booked currently split largely for the 787-8, though customers contractually have the option to switch variants.

I'm willing to bet that the 787 orderbook balance will dash to the nine.

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