Monday, October 16, 2006

News From Nowhere: As the Airbus Turns

Couple of items of interest in today's news.

The Times UK is reporting that the delivery dates for the new, better than ever, rilly rilly improved just you wait and see A350WXB may be pushed back yet again until 2014. Rumor has it that Airbus wants to build an all composite aircraft as only we, les Europeans, know how to do compozeets. What does it matter that it's only going to be seven years late?

Of course one of the usual talking heads was trotted out for the occasion to say there's nothing to these dastardly rumors, which is a sure sign that something's afoot.

In another item the Times says that the French government is planning to offer assistance with les euros for suppliers getting clobbered by the A380 meltdown. There is a minor catch, though. You've got to be a French company to benefit from this largesse. Transport Minister Perben says that he'd like to see a maximum of production and work share maintained inside the euro zone and inside France.

Now. Here's the yankee perspective.

Folks may not know it but we've got a helluva lot of money tied up in this white elephant, too. When the time came to buy into this game, we put our money down on the table and took a player's stake. Goodrich, my former employer went to town, developing and engineering landing gear, evacuation slides, and fuel system gear for the big Trent. Other American firms such as Rockwell Collins and others put their money where their mouth was and ante'd up too. There's a link to a list of suppliers down below.

By far the biggest investment outside of the euro zone has to be by Rolls Royce. They've blown the budget on the Trent 900. The GP7200, which is largely an American project, cannot be far behind in dollars spent on the strength of Airbus promises.

If they're going to be hung out to dry for their money while the checks go out to French firms, the yankee response the next time the Europeans want to develop a big project may be "Fine. You'll buy what we've got, in God we trust, all others pay cash."


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