Rusty's Unofficial RIU
Long-range ultra high-capacity airliner (Mega-Verkehrsflugzeug mit großer Reichweite)
France, Germany, Spain, United Kingdom (Frankreich, Deutschland, Spanien, Großbritannien)
Airbus Industrie (Large Aircraft Division)
1, Rond Pont Maurice Bellonte
Airbus shareholders are Aerospatiale Matra, BAE Systems, CASA and Dasa, but more comapanies will be involved in the A3XX as partners.
General (Allgemeine Angaben)
Crew (Besatzung): 2
- A3XX-50R: 481 in typical three-class arrangement
- A3XX-100: 555 in typical three-class arrangement, 850 in single class
- A3XX-200: 656 in typical three-class arrangement, 960 in single class
- Underfloor cargo capacity for 30 to 44 LD3 containers or 10 to 14 pallets
Power plant (Antrieb): 4 x turbofans, make and model still to be decided. Rolls-Royce has offered its Trent 900 while the General Electric/Pratt & Whitney Alliance could develop its GP7000.
Thrust (Schub): 298 kN for the A3XX-50 and -100 or 333 kN for the A3XX-100R and the A3XX-200
Length (Länge): 73 m or 79,4 m (A3XX-200) or 67,9 m (A3XX-50)
Height (Höhe): 24,1 m
Fuselage width (Rumpfbreite): 8,7 m
Span (Spannweite): 79,8 m
Operating weight empty (Leermasse): 261 tons (-50), 271 tons (-100), 2715 tons (A3XX-100R) or 286 tons (A3XX-200)
Max. zero fuel weight (Max. Masse ohne Kraftstoff): 334 tons (-50), 356 tons (-100), 350 tons for the A3XX-100R or 381 tons (A3XX-200)
Payload (Nutzlast): 73 tons in the -50R, 85 tons in the -100 and 95 tons in the -200 version
Fuel capacity (Kraftstoff): 336000 litres in the A3XX-50R, 297000 litres in the A3XX-100, 383000 litres in the A3XX-100R and 336000 litres in the A3XX-200
Max. take-off weight (Max. Startmasse): 540 tons for the -50 and -100 or 583 tons for the A3XX-100R and -200
Max. landing weight (max. Landemasse): 357 tons in the -50, 381 tons in the -100 and 408 tons in the A3XX-200
Range (Reichweite): 14200 km or 16200 km (A3XX-100R) or 10600 km (A3XX-100F)
In mid-1998, prices of 208 - 218 million US-Dollars for the A3XX-100 and 238 to 245 milion for the A3XX-200 were circulating.
Development cost is estimated at 10 to 12 billion US-Dollars.
The aircraft is defined in close consultation with 19 leading potential customers, including Air Canada, FedEx, United Airlines, British Airways, Iberia, KLM, Virgin, Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, All Nippon, Cathay Pacific, Korean Air, Singapore Airline Japan Airlines, Quantas, Malaysian and EVA Air.
Airbus believes there is a market requirement for about 1200 "super jumbos" through to 2018, and possibly more if cargo operators are included. The consortium is banking on potential sales fo 700 A3XX aircraft.
None for the time being, as Boeing has shelved its 747-500X and -600X designs for the moment. It may, however, offer a 747-400 high gross weight version or a simple stretch.
Airbus wants to complete its product range with a family of 500 seaters to challenge the dominance Boeing has enjoyed at the high end of the market with its Jumbo Jet. It aims for direct operating costs which are 15 to 20 per cent better to justify the new airliner. These targets are not reached yet, though by the end of 1998 it was said that Airbus is within "a couple of per cent" of the goal.
A whole family of A3XX viariants is under consideration right now. Besides the basic -100, these are the
* A3XX-50R (shrink model for 480 passengers and 16000 km range. Fuselage is 5,1 m shorter)
* A3XX-100R (555 passengers for a range of 16200 km with 383000 litres of fuel)
* A3XX-100F (freighter variant for 150 tons capability over 10400 km)
* A3XX-100R Combi (seven or ten palettes of freight, reduced passenger count)
* A3XX-100 Cargo (pure freighter for 150 tons on 6500 - 10200 km routes)
* A3XX-200 (fuselage stretched by 6,4 m. 656 passengers, range of 14200 km)
Much depends on finding the finance for this extremely expensive (10 to 12 billion US-Dollars) development project. By the end of 1999, nine companies had concluded participation accords:
* Aerostructures Corporation (USA)
* GKN Westland Aerospace
* Hurel Dubois
* Stork Aerospace (Netherlands)
Other argeements are being negotiated in Europe (notably with Alenia), North America and Asia. The Russian industry has also indicated an interest. In total, Airbus wants to offload 40 per cent of the costs to industrial partners.
In March 1996, a Large Aircraft Division was set up by Airbus to prepare the launch of the A3XX programme. Concept definition began in April. Airbus is talking to 19 airlines (including KLM, Lufthansa, Northwest, FedEx, All Nippon, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and United) to refine the design.
Preliminary design freeze was achieved on 22. January 1998, followed by further development activities. A launch decision was due in the first half of 1999, some six months later than previously thought, but even that schedule was not met. Instead, after much deliberation, the Airbus Supervisory Board declared a "commercial pre-launch" of the -100 version of the A3XX on 8. December 1999. This is not more than to allow Airbus salemen to talk to the top airline managers about their real needs.
A further discussion on the A3XX is set for June, when the Supervisory Board may approve Airbus to firmly offer the aircraft, depending on perceived airline reaction.
Even after the the Asian econimic crisis is apparently coming to an end, it currently seems very difficult to get enough launch orders, as many airlines like Lufthansa, Air France and British Airways have publicly stated that they have no need in the near future for an airliner as big as the A3XX. They are now thinking more in terms of frequency than capacity. On the other hand, interest from cargo operators like FedEx. Atlas Air, Cargolux or Singapore Airlines Cargo seems strong.
Airbus plans now call for a final definition of the A3XX by the end of 2001, with a first flight in mid-2004 and first deliveries in October 2005 - the latter date a slip of three months compared with the most recent predictions. A freighter A3XX could be available by 2007.
Please verify information before booking. Seat charts vary from carrier to carrier.