Friday, November 03, 2006

Austrian Dumps Airbus; TAM Orders Boeing

It's being reported today that Austrian Airlines is planning to rid itself of its A330-200s and A340-300s and standardize on Boeing products. TAM, one of the largest Brazilian carriers and previously an exclusively Airbus house has broken ranks and ordered the Boeing 777 rather than the Airbus A340.

The A340 is an interesting study in what can go wrong in the airline trade and how quickly it can happen. Launched with mucho fanfare and a super size helping of European hubris, its four engines were promoted as having an extra modicum of reliability and safety. Who could forget the now infamous "4 engines 4 long haul" campaign slogan?

Of course that was before the idea of $60 per barrel crude became a reality, and the A340 floundered and foundered on the rocks of economics. It's simply cheaper to fly twin engine planes that carry the same number of people to the same places.


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