Its not just about efficiency. Ultimately if you can charge £150 a seat more than someone using a competitor airframe, your costs are only £50 more per seat, assumming similar load factors and passenger numbers then you will be laughing.
Sadly too many CEOs focus on a single part without realising there are many others.
Another issue is the 'Emergency Cut Here' marks on the fuselage. An axe bounces off !
Here is an interesting letter to the Aerospace magazine:-
Composites - shades of the Comet ?
"Reading Bill Read's article in the February issue. On the maintenance aspects of aircraft containing an ever increasing proportion of composite materials in their structure, has awakeneed a long felt concern that I have about these materials. Fuelled by the huge benefits that are there to be exploited in terms of higher structural efficiency over their metal equivalent, especially in these times of austerity and the need for ever lower seat mile costs, industry, driven by its customers, has embraced this new relatively unknown material and forged ahead to integrate it into the very heart of airframe manufacture. In this latest breed of airliners, tried and tested metals that are know completetly understood through the hard lessons from generations gone by, are increasingly becoming the exception rather than the norm.
We understand composites as manufactured and we are perfecting processes to manufacture ever more complex components and assemblies out of this new and challenging material. But it is not tolerant of damage, it is not easy to spot(the extent of) damage, it is not esy to repair, it is not easy to guarantee a repair. Consequently, the long term integrity of such repairs has to be questionable. We understand the science but I fear we don't understand its durability in a damage risk environment. Back in the post war days, we thought we understood metals. The Comet was a frightening illustration of how little we did know. Speed, distance and comfort were then the driving forces. Chasing the current-day holy grail of minimal seat-mile costs could be a frightening analogy."
- John H Mangan CEng MRAeS
Location: In some hotel downroute or in some hotel doing union negotiations.
Boeing claims that the 787 burns around 20% less fuel than any other same sized aircraft. Thing is, airbus for example doesn't offer any aircraft in that size bracket (210-250 seats for the -8). It can be roughly compared to a 767-300, but no completely, especially if range comes into the equation. The 787 is a pretty small wide body airplane with a pretty long range in the non-overweight configuration.
The first around 60 aircraft are overweight, the first 20 of those by a huge amount. One of the results is the low number of seats that are used by the first two customers on international long haul routes, 158 in the ANA version and 186 in the JAL one.
Total cost will depend of course, the first 300 airplanes were sold at steep discounts for prices as low as 64 million $ per airplane which is considerably below the list price for a 737.
Sensible folk don't care about the beancounters and their penny/cent pinching ways of costs per mile/kilometre ... Give us sensible folk 3 or 4 engines per aircraft for oceanic travel and we're happy to pay that little bit more to rest peacefully in our seats.