AIRBUS INDUSTRIE is bracing itself for a bitter struggle to force the European Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) to decline "grandfather" certification-rights for Boeing's new 737 family.
The consortium is determined to raise the profile of the issue, which has become a key factor in recent airline aircraft-selections.
Vice-president of marketing Phillipe Jarry says that Airbus is "seriously considering" re-submitting the A320 for certification, with a demand that it receive at least one critical grandfather-right allowed to the current 737s in respect of take-off speeds.
That addresses the so-called "Amendment 42", which calls for a 2s, rather than the previous 1s, "thinking time" built into the calculation of V1 (take-off decision) speeds for newer aircraft, including the A320. The result is a relatively lower V1 and, sometimes, restricted passenger loads.
It is highly unlikely that the JAA would countenance such a change, but some Airbus managers believe that even a denial could be useful in highlighting what they see as the unfairness of the position. Jarry notes that because of the regulations Airbus has to offer the A319, for example, with fewer seats than those in the physically smaller 737-700 now being developed.
Any Airbus move would come, as the JAA continues to consider whether other grandfather items relating to cabin safety, (Flight International, 5-11 April), should be allowed in the new 737s.
A tough JAA attitude on the regulations, would have a critical effect on Boeing's efforts, to ensure, that as many current 737s as possible are replaced, by the new models. It won the business of four German charter carriers in quick succession in late 1994 and early 1995.
"[We say] the rules should be applied for safety reasons. Boeing has to get a by-pass of these rules, to ensure that the 737-700/-800 sells so I well understand our plea for the same rules to be applied, at a given time. We believe that this is fair play, not only for us, but for the passengers."
Source: Flight International