When traveling long distances, there is no alternative to the aircraft in speed and comfort. Airbus and Boeing are the main competitors in the world market. These companies' have shared share the sky for over 50 years and both brands have its adherents. These days, competition in the civil aircraft market is escalating. The European company Airbus increasingly surpasses the American concern Boeing, its rival and the traditional industry leader. The main competition between these brands is in civil aviation. These companies have many differences both in the external design and the technical part.
Clash of the Titans
In the mid 90s, the American company had no competitors in the civil aviation world market. However, by the beginning of the new century the situation has changed. Many customers began to prefer the European Airbus. If in 1988, the Europeans controlled 16% of the market, their share rose to 50% in 2004 (Hartley, 2014). In 2014, the European corporation outperformed Boeing in the number of orders. Airbus Concern received firm orders for 1,456 aircraft while the number of orders for Boeing was 1432 aircraft (Hartley, 2014).
East Asia is the main region for Boeing and Airbus. Experts predict that China alone will increase the fleet to five thousand aircraft over the next fifteen years. In such a way, China's share of the global aviation market will grow from 10% to 16% (Hartley, 2014), The second most important market for manufacturers of civil aircraft is North and South America. According to the former US Deputy Minister of International Trade, trading aviation war between Washington and European capitals is the fiercest, most ambitious and politically motivated trade dispute in history. Despite this, competition benefits these companies forcing them to be more dynamic and effective. These days, Airbus is one of the main symbols of the united Europe, as their aircraft is chosen by many non-European countries (Hartley, 2014). Nevertheless, Boeing is still considered the classic of aviation by many people.
Airbus A350 is a new wide-body aircraft for long-haul airlines. Formally, the A350 project was launched on December 1, 2006, to replace the A330 and A340 aircraft (Hartley, 2014). However, the main purpose of the aircraft lies in competing with the American company Boeing. When Boeing announced Boeing 787 Dreamliner, it claimed that the lower cost of operation would deal a serious blow to the positions of Airbus A330 (Hartley, 2014). Nevertheless, Airbus stated that it did not see a competitor in Boeing 787 and would not take any retaliatory steps (Hartley, 2014). Despite this, the company was afraid of competition as the new Boeing model was supposed to be more economical by 20% (Hartley, 2014). The company decided to create A350, a new aircraft. It includes three versions: A350-800, A350-900, and 350-1000 designed to carry 270, 314, and 350 passengers respectively, taking into account the seating arrangements in the salons of a division into three classes of comfort (Hartley, 2014). In the article Flying The A350, it is stated that "The A350 is a large aircraft, with a 212.4-ft. wingspan, that will be operated at a variety of airports and in all weather conditions" (Fred, 2015). When modifying a single cabin, capacity is increased depending on the version from 440 to 550 people (Hartley, 2014). Modifications of A350 will be put into operation in stages. A350-900will be implemented in the fourth quarter of 2014; A350-800 - in mid-2016; A350-1000 - in 2017 (Hartley, 2014).
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Boeing 787 Dreamliner is also known as Boeing 7E7 (Wagner & Norris, 2009). It is a wide-body passenger jet airliner. In the book The Political Economy of Aerospace Industries, it is stated that "With its Dreamliner, Boeing achieved 'first mover' advantage of some three years" (Hartley, 2014, p. 125). It is designed for use on medium and long directions. Depending on the modification, Boeing 787 is capable of carrying from 210 to 380 passengers over a distance of up to 15 thousand kilometers. Boeing 787 is made in collaboration with numerous suppliers from all over the world. Final assembly of the aircraft takes place at the Boeing plant in Everett, Washington, as well as at the new company's plant in North Charleston, South Carolina.
Comparison of Design
Boeing 787 interior has been designed with the latest technology. First of all, the developers have taken care of space. In such a way, the ceiling was designed in the form of an arch. It gives a feeling of more space in comparison with ordinary passages in other planes. The passenger cabin of Boeing 787 is able to accommodate 296 passengers (single-class configuration), 240 passengers (two-class configuration), and 234 passengers (three-class configuration) (Hartley, 2014). The width of the passenger compartment constitutes 5.5 meters (Hartley, 2014). Portholes in Boeing 787 are bigger than in any other passenger aircraft (Hartley, 2014). Instead of the usual plastic shutters, portholes are equipped with electrochromic dimming in the smart glass. One of the amazing features of Boeing 787 is the interior lighting (Hartley, 2014). Everyone who has ever flown across several time zones knows how hard it is to sleep during a flight and be woken with the flick of a switch, after which the cabin is filled with fluorescent white light. LEDs in the interior of Dreamliner allow the crew to adjust the light intensity according to different phases of flight. The size of the toilets has increased. Expanding a partition between them made it possible to provide access for people in wheelchairs. Overhead luggage racks have become more spacious and it is possible to fit four suitcases with wheels in each of them.
Boeing 787 is equipped with an innovative system of smooth flight (Hartley, 2014). It provides comfort to passengers during turbulence. Boeing states that this technology will allow to reduce the number of passengers getting seasick eightfold. The plane is equipped with special sensors that detect changes in air pressure. It is one of the features of turbulence effect reduction. Based on the readings from the sensors, the computer system adjusts the position of flaperons to suppress the vertical oscillation of the aircraft.
Just as in the new Boeing, there are significant changes in the design of the new Airbus. XWB letters are not redundant in the passport of the aircraft. They signify that it is an extra-wide airliner. There is plenty of room both in the cabin of the business class and economy. There are wider seats, more legroom, and higher ceiling due to a special arrangement of shelves. Despite the fact that the seats are placed according the 3-3-3 scheme, each passenger has enough personal space in the economy class (Hartley, 2014).
In Airbus A350 as in Boeing 787, lighting is of great importance. It varies depending on the time of day, season, and weather. During a flight, passengers can see the dawn, sunset, and the clear blue sky (Hartley, 2014). Much attention is paid to the entertainment part of the journey. In the back of each seat, there is a screen where a passenger can not only watch movies but also monitor the flight. At the tail and under the bottom of Airbus, cameras that transmit images in real time are located . Thus, each passenger can enjoy the scenery below.
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Comparison of Performance
Both aircraft are equipped with the best items for exemplary performance. Two jet engines Trent XWB are installed on Airbus A350 (Filippone, 2012). They are of different capacities for each modification of the liner. Trent XWB engine is equipped with a fan with the diameter of 300 centimeters and has an original form of a new design (Filippone, 2012). It is more economical, saving to 10-15% of fuel as compared with similar samples of other brands (Filippone, 2012). Through the use of original duct systems, special acoustic sound mode dispersion is achieved, which reduces the sound pressure in the cabin. For the implementation of all systems of A350, the airliner is equipped with the auxiliary setting Honeywell 331 APU, which provides air flow to different systems of the vital activity and aircraft units. For the power supply of appliances and a short light of the aircraft cabin, nickel-cadmium batteries are installed (Filippone, 2012). To control aircraft, radio electronic and navigation equipment of a French company Thaies Group is used., Ten new plants in Western Europe and the United States were built to implement the program for the production of airliners A 350 considering the international programs of cooperation and investment (Filippone, 2012).
Boeing has also used the newest technologies to create the aircraft. Boeing 787 is produced in collaboration with numerous suppliers from all over the world (Hartley, 2014). Control of Boeing 787 is performed by means of Fly-By-Wire system. In general, the architecture of the aircraft is similar to the cabin of Boeing 777 (Hartley, 2014). The length of Boeing 787 is 56.7 meters and the wingspan is 60.1 meters. Under the wing in the arrowhead shape, there are two turbojet engines GEnx-1B of the production of General Electric or Trent-1000 of the production of Rolls-Royce (Hartley, 2014). These engines have a thrust of 280 kN each (Hartley, 2014). The swept wing of Boeing 787 with variable bend endings increases the lifting force by 2% (Hartley, 2014). The wing is longer than that of A350 aircraft (Hartley, 2014). Flap mechanisms, anti-icing, and other electrical systems are mounted in a single block. This facilitates maintenance and reduces the probability of failure.
A modern complex of avionics ARINC 661 is installed on Boeing 787 (Hartley, 2014). To display flight information, the wide MFDs are used. In the cockpit, like in military aircraft, there are head-up displays (HUD) on the windshield to display critical flight information (Hartley, 2014).
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Comparison of Materials
Both Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 use a large number of composite materials based on carbon fiber. The use of composites has allowed to keep the aircraft strength at reduced weight of the entire construction, and this, in turn, has had a positive impact on fuel efficiency. Many experts argue that Boeing 787 is better than its chief competitor Airbus A350 in terms of the materials used. Boeing 787 is the first aircraft in history consisting of 50% light and reliable composite materials (Cha, 2013). In the book Composite Materials, it is stated that "It can be said without any exaggerations that Boeing 787 aircraft represents a watershed event in the use of composites in the civilian aerospace industry" (Cha, 2013, p. 179). As a result, the liner is lighter and stronger than any other aircraft of this type with an aluminum fuselage. The percentage distribution is as follows: carbon fiber - 50%, aluminum - 20%, titanium - 15%, steel -10%, and other materials - 5% (Cha, 2013). The author Benjamin Lu (2010) states that "This combination creates a low density and, therefore, lightweight material that possesses substantial mechanical strength". The author Krishan Cha (2013) affirms that "In Boeing 787, the fuselage is made of carbon fiber/epoxy composites, which have a higher strength" (p. 179). Composite materials on Boeing 787 are used on the bearing surfaces, fuselage, empennage, and doors.
As was already mentioned, there are two types of low noise and super-efficient engines used for Boeing 787 - Rolls Royce Trent 1000 and General Electric GEnx-1B. They are placed in the balloon basket with jagged noise protection, also known as chevrons. In GEnx engine, both the body and the turbine blades are made entirely out of composite materials like nozzles injecting fuel and air mixture in the combustion chamber (Hacker, Burghardt, Fletcher, Gordon & Peruzzi, 2015). As a result, the engine operating rod enters the mode at lower temperatures, whereby hydrocarbon emissions are reduced.
Airbus uses the same materials in A350 as Boeing in their 787. However, Boeing was the first who started using larger amounts of carbon fiber in aircraft and Airbus only copied this. In the production of the fuselage and wings, the technology of Boeing is used, applying carbon fiber and composite materials the content of which reaches 53% (Cha, 2013). Aluminum alloys Al / Al-Li -19%, titanium Ti -14%, and steel - 6% are also widely used (Cha, 2013). This way, the percentage of material used in both aircraft is practically the same. Despite this, Airbus only uses carbon fiber and composite materials in the production of the fuselage (Cha, 2013).
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Boeing is an American aircraft company, which has a long history in planes production. In contrast, Airbus is a younger European company. Nevertheless, it has already presented itself well in the market. These companies both produced two modern aircraft that are considered the best in the world. They both have unique designs and similar technical characteristics. Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 have been constructed using composite materials based on carbon fiber. This fact positively impacts fuel efficiency. The decision of Airbus to develop a model of the family A350 that is similar to the Boeing 787 was very risky. Nevertheless, due to intense competition, new technologies will be introduced and i aircraft design will be further improved, which will undoubtedly have a positive result for both Airbus and Boeing.