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Article: Qantas pilots split on Boeing or 'bus

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Yada Yada

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theaustralian.news.com.au said:
Qantas pilots split on Boeing or 'bus
Steve Creedy - December 12, 2005

QANTAS officials worked through the weekend to get a recommendation on its massive $15-$20 billion fleet upgrade to the board on Wednesday. But the airline's pilots remain divided on whether Qantas should spend its money with Boeing or arch rival Airbus.

Many are staunch supporters of the flying kangaroo's traditional supplier, Boeing, and believe the airline should pin its future on the US manufacturer's widebody 777s and 787s.

But Airbus, which has made significant Qantas inroads since an order in 2000, also has fans who would like to see Qantas pick up four-engine A340s and the European plane-maker's competitor to the 787, the A350.

"A lot of the guys who fly the 'bus like it and identify with the technology," said Australian International Pilots Association technical and safety director Richard Woodward. "Quite a few people say you've got to drop preconceived ideas and embrace the airbus technology.

"But there are a lot of guys who are anti-Airbus completely and that would be a cultural thing -- they've been flying Boeings for a million years."

The board deferred a decision on the aircraft last week to give officials more time to consider last-minute revised proposals in the closely fought battle. Pilot supporters of both aircraft types have long lists of often technical reasons why they prefer one over the other.

But Captain Woodward, who flies Airbus A330s but says he is a Boeing fan, said pilots opposed to the European aircraft believed they had more control in Boeing planes and perceived them as being stronger and more robust.

The newer planes from both manufacturers use so-called "fly-by-wire" technology that routes pilots' control inputs through computers and other remote mechanisms.

However, Airbus adopted the technology earlier than Boeing and made a radical decision to replace the traditional pilot's yoke, the main control "wheel" seen in most movies, with a joystick device.

Airbus also incorporated a number of computerised safety features into the system, such an anti-stall function that automatically boosts engine thrust as the pitch of the aircraft increases.

Some pilots believe the Europeans have given computers and automatic systems too much authority over how the planes fly.

Captain Woodward said another Airbus captain had described flying the aircraft as a vote, with the computer getting more votes than the pilot.

"The purists days of aviation are gone, the days when the pilot is relying on his so-called stick-and-rudder skills to fly the aeroplane are gone," he said. "The aeroplane is intervening much more than it did in the old days and it's modifying your inputs to try and achieve what it wants.

"The technique of flying an Airbus is to make an input and wait and see what happens, then make another input and wait and see what happens."

However, another Qantas captain who preferred flying Airbus aircraft said the sidestick "was the obvious way to go".
 

JohnK

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My opinion is that Qantas will stick mainly with 777s and 787s.

The current fleet is around 70%-75% Boeing and this trend looks likely to continue. Why change something that works?
 

Dave Noble

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JohnK said:
My opinion is that Qantas will stick mainly with 777s and 787s.

The current fleet is around 70%-75% Boeing and this trend looks likely to continue. Why change something that works?
They currently have zero 777s and zero 787s. Tell me how this would mean staying with them; the best thing to do is compare the merits of both companies models and pick that which is most appropriate

Dave
 

JohnK

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Dave Noble said:
They currently have zero 777s and zero 787s. Tell me how this would mean staying with them;
I think that is what they will purchase next. Apart from A380 ordered I think they will stick with Boeing.
 

duffshot

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I can see the merit in going for an Airbus wide fleet with virtually a common cockpit across all types, but I think the fact they have not been entirely happy with the A330 may just be enough to give the Boeing aircraft the edge.

Having said that though, I think it will be a composite order of a bit of each. Very interestiing and great for Australian travellers. How many US airlines are rushing out to upgrade their fleets?
 

NM

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JohnK said:
My opinion is that Qantas will stick mainly with 777s and 787s.

The current fleet is around 70%-75% Boeing and this trend looks likely to continue. Why change something that works?
And they have quite a large number of A320 aircraft in use and on order. As well as 12 x A380s on order.

Since we know this order will include capacity for JQ International, I expect to see a little french splashed around the announcement - at least some A321's for JQ International.
 

markis10

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Lets get Patriotic for a sec, how much being Boeing or Airbus product is made in Australia, I think you will find going Airbus keeps more bucks here than Boeing, although as a consumer I have to say the 777 is my favorite aircraft to travel on.
 

duffshot

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markis10 said:
Lets get Patriotic for a sec, how much being Boeing or Airbus product is made in Australia, I think you will find going Airbus keeps more bucks here than Boeing, although as a consumer I have to say the 777 is my favorite aircraft to travel on.
I know we make the wingtip fence for the A380..... Wow as a % of the total aircraft cost that must be almost 0.5%. As for the Boeing - I don't know but maybe as much as 0.3% at a guess.
 

oz_mark

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duffshot said:
I can see the merit in going for an Airbus wide fleet with virtually a common cockpit across all types, but I think the fact they have not been entirely happy with the A330 may just be enough to give the Boeing aircraft the edge.
While I know they were unhappy with the A330 on SYD-MEL legs, have they actually been unhappy with the A330 on sectors that it is more suited too, such as the various international sectors it is now deployed on?
 

duffshot

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I think some of their "unhappiness" is related to the fact that they bought and configured them for one role which they did not turn out to be well suited too. As such they can't use them as effectively as they would like. How much of this is QF's fault and how much is Airbus fault I don't know.


Today is the big day though where the red rat releases the cat from the bag and we can stop speculating and discuss what we think of the decision.
 

Yada Yada

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Lindsay Wilson said:
As duffshot intimated above...

The Qantas board meets this morning to make decisions on its $20 billion fleet purchase program, one of the largest investments in Australian corporate history...
If only they'd spread a measly million of it my way... :(

I guess there are some anxious Airbus and Boeing execs sitting next to their telephones this evening in Europe/LOTFAP. :D
 

markis10

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The way things are goingn i would suspect the Jetstar crews say in things might count more, given the expansion they seem to be going through!
 

straitman

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markis10 said:
The way things are goingn i would suspect the Jetstar crews say in things might count more, given the expansion they seem to be going through!
From my experience what the crews say will have little or no bearing upon the decision. (and in most cases rightly so) :D :D :D
 

Yada Yada

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According to this report, the announcement is due at 2:00pm.

One of the Bloomberg analysts was quoted as saying:
"The way they've been playing off Airbus and Boeing, I think they'll look at one major order to extract the best possible price,'' said Brent Mitchell, an analyst at Shaw Stockbroking Ltd. in Melbourne who rates the stock "reduce.''
Will be interesting to see what happens.
 

Yada Yada

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Seattle must be pleased - 115 x B787's is a nice order.

So I guess we will see some of these on the SYD-MEL route?

I notice that Deathstar International is to use 4 x A330-200's to begin with. Are they taking these from the existing QF fleet?
 

JohnK

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NM said:
Yada Yada said:
According to this report, the announcement is due at 2:00pm.
And the winner is ..... Boeing

Ass the ASX announcement for details.
Had a feeling they will stick to Boeing.

65 B787's with rights for another 50, beginning 2008.

It also mentions Jetstar international will commence with 4 A330-200's plus 10 B787's.

Link to ASX announcement but not sure if you need password.

http://imagesignal.comsec.com.au/asxdata/20051214/pdf/00576496.pdf
 

NM

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Yada Yada said:
Seattle must be pleased - 115 x B787's is a nice order.

So I guess we will see some of these on the SYD-MEL route?

I notice that Deathstar International is to use 4 x A330-200's to begin with. Are they taking these from the existing QF fleet?
Yes, the 4 x A332 will be the existing ones in service with QF mainline. This is not at all surprising.

We will be seeing 787s on most routes by the middle of next decade. JQ gets the first ones from August 2008, and mainline gets its first deliveries a year later.

The announcement does not specify the mix of 787-8 and 787-9 aircraft, just that it will be a mix.
 

Yada Yada

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NM said:
We will be seeing 787s on most routes by the middle of next decade. JQ gets the first ones from August 2008, and mainline gets its first deliveries a year later.
So the old QF 767s will be trundling around for a good while yet!

I guess Airbus can now take down their billboards across the road from the QF buildings on Qantas Drive.
 
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