A Joint Feasibility Study Of Ultra High Capacity Aircraft

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Section 1 Goal and Scope
In late 1993, Airbus, with its three main consortium members Aerospatiale, British Aerospace and Defence Analytical Services and Advice (DASA), started a joint feasibility study of ultra-high capacity aircraft (UHCA).1 The study showed a need for up to 727 UHCA between 2001 and 2011.2 With world passenger numbers growing at 5 per cent each year, taking off and landing slots at major airports will be limited. Airbus believed that UHCA, providing more efficient use of ramp and runway space, will be part of the solution to the growing congestion.
Airbus’ competitor Boeing netted 40 new sales of their 747 model, worth $6.5 billion (USD) in 1994.3 This had portrayed Airbus’ inability to compete at this high value end of the market. With the mounting sense of urgency, Airbus need to intensify the design and development of a UHCA to fill the top end of its product line and stop the dominance of Boeing in large aircraft market with 747 for over two decades. Hence, in June 1994, Airbus announced its project goal to build a high-capacity, high-efficiency aircraft with up to 569 seat capacity and a maximum range of 8,520 nautical miles; the project was designated A3XX.4 Many airlines faced a dilemma whether to opt for earlier option of the new Boeing 747X, or the all new A3XX. During a meeting with 13 major airliners in Carcassonne, Airbus had then assured them with a scope to work toward preliminary and final design freezes scheduled on the end of 1997 and

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