Wednesday, May 10, 2006

We'll Get it Right This Time, We Promise: The A350 Reborn?

It was reported by Bloomberg today that, perhaps bowing to the inevitable, Airbus is going to announce very soon that they are about to scrap the 'redesigned' A350 and spend $10 billion USD in developing what could be a cutting edge competitor to the B787-which is what some highly placed people in ILFC, Emirates and elsewhere have been saying all along that Airbus should do.

When the first through fourth iterations of the A350 design came out, it was pretty much a refried warmed over A330-200 with a new wing. In fact, it wasn't even going to have its own type certificate. Airbus was pretty cavalier about the whole thing, assuming, one might suppose, that their customers would buy anything that said Airbus on it despite a lukewarm reception where the rubber meets the road. Meanwhile, things weren't going so well in the order department.

According to Bloomberg, this will make Airbus' fifth attempt to come up with a viable competitor to the Plastic Fantastic 787 from Boeing. If the story turns out to be accurate, it will mean that another two years will be tacked onto the development calendar, and deliveries may not occur until 2012 or beyond.

The parameters of the possible new design may prove very interesting and for one, I'll just bet my last Confederate dollar that it will include a composite fuselage. My guess? The spin will be "Well, we studied it until we got it right as only we in Europe know how to do it". One thing that the "current" A350 design just couldn't get around is a 10 metric ton giveaway in the weight department.

It wasn't so long ago that Airbus was saying that they'd just pay people money to shut up and go away, rather than spend the money redesigning an indifferent product. Hopefully we've heard the last of that nonsense.

Stay tuned. This could be the big Farnborough splash everyone's been looking for.


At 3:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll take the bet!

Boeing has the composite fuselage thanks to NASA research and is the only one to master the technology.

At 10:26 AM, Blogger Robert Luedeman, attorney at law said...

Absolutely correct. My message to Airbus would be "Ok....if you're as smart and good as you say, well, show me the money."


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