Sunday, November 26, 2006

A380 Albatross Update: Alles in Ordnung, Stupid!

There are a couple of interesting stories today that may prove to presage something interesting from Airbus next week. At least it's food for thought for idle speculators and sidewalk superintendents, of which I happen to be one.

I've noticed that whenever an important announcement is made by The Maginot Line, there's a pre-announcement buzz, the obligatory "Every problem is solved! Alles in ordnung, stupid!" announcement from one of the usual talking heads, and then along about Monday or Tuesday the poo hits the fan, or more appropriately, the bird hits the first stage of the compressor. the rumors, as yet unconfirmed. One is that China Southern, which holds a position for five A380s is going to dump the Albatross in favor of an order for the A350WXB....which means that they're hopping mad about not getting the hauling capacity for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and are raking The Maginot Line over the compensation coals.....that's an interesting rumor.

As far as the obligatory "Alles in ordnung, stupid!" message, the product marketing director of the A380 program told Gulf News that everything was wonderful, the wiring problems have been solved, fuel efficiency is 17 per cent better than the B747-800, and all they need to do now is rewire the 26 airframes that are sitting around waiting for it.

Inquiring minds need to know: where is Barbara Kracht?

I don't know about you, but tying up money in 26 airframes and then letting them sit for a couple years until they can be delivered is an interesting admission that says a lot about why Airbus needs money.

That's rework on a grand scale that Douglas could never have dreamed of, and it says a lot about the disconnect between engineering and production at The Maginot Line.

Stay tuned. Next week's likely to be interesting.


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