Monday, October 30, 2006

Emirates In Negotiation With Boeing For 747-8

The Gulf Daily News of Bahrein is reporting that Emirates is in negotiations with The Prussian Airplane Company for 20 to 30 747-8s if they can be conformed to Emirates specification.

If this story has any traction and the parties come to an agreement, can cancellation of Emirate's orders for the A380 be far behind?

Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Qantas Signs Up:Savants Ask "At What Price?"

It was announced that Qantas, the Australian flag carrier signed a deal for 8 Airbus A380s last night. When this story broke, I was flummoxed and thought "No. They can't be that goofy." and refrained from blogging it.

Well. I was wrong.

But like everything in the aviation business, there's the Official Version and then there's What Really Went Down. We now have the Official Version.

What really went down probably went like this. It was make or break time for the program. What Airbus needed more than anything else in the world was a very public Vote of Confidence from A Serious Player. Qantas, being the canny players that they are, took a very big risk that the program will survive and prosper and lent their support.

I am sure that in exchange for this very public show of support at just the right time, there was a price exacted. What that price might be, is unknown and may never be fully disclosed.

However, as G. Gordon Liddy was known to have said "When you've got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow."

This could be the breathing room that Airbus needs to get the A380 program under control and win back the confidence of the airlines. On the other hand it could be Captain Smith saying to the Titanic passengers "Hey....don't worry. There's the Californian, right over there."

Stay tuned.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Climbing Out From Under: Emirates Cancels A340 Order

It is being reported this afternoon that Emirates has cancelled an order for 10 A340-600 long range passenger haulers and options for 10 more.

Even though it's reported that the order's being assumed by an unspecified third party, one has to wonder whether this is a portent of things to come?

Clark Tells Airbus: Better Get Relacore!

Reuters is reporting this morning that the chairman of Emirates has stated that the A380 is 5.5 "tonnes" overweight. For the metrically challenged, that comes out to 12,120 pounds give or take. The only mystery in this story is what weight Mr. Clark started from-scale weights, or the basic operating weight of 608,400 pounds that The Emerald City has published.

We're going to follow this story.

Either way it's confirmation of a sort what Cassandras like myself have been saying ever since we started trying to run weight estimates on the A380.

In other news, Virgin Atlantic has decided to defer delivery of the 6 A380 order it placed for another four years, which can't be good confidence wise for the A380 recovery program.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Good News For Airbus, Bad News For Democracy in China? UPDATE

There's always more to the story, isn't there just?

The Times of India is reporting that the Airbus deal was signed so that China could gain access to advanced French weaponry, and not out of any bonhomie on the part of either party. The Times says China is once again using cash to buy goodwill.

It seems that president Chirac urged the European Union to lift the arms embargo it imposed on China after the Tienamen Square riots of 1989, on the same day that China signed the deal to buy 170 Airbus aircraft. France, it seems, wants the EU to grant market economy status to China, a move India is opposed to because much of what China manufactures is subsidized one way or another.

Well. We now know what the price the French put on the people who died and the rights that were trampled in 1989. Upgrading the Chinese military's capability with French imports can't be good for India's peace of mind.

Good News for Airbus?

It's been reported that China has placed an order for 150 A320 narrow body airliners from the Toulouse maker, with coproduction in China to start some time in the future.

Airbus also announced that it had received a substantial order for 65 of the A319 from Skybus, a startup in the US that has yet to begin operations.

Good news from Toulouse has been pretty scarce as of late. This shows that Airbus can do pretty well by sticking to their knitting.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Aeroflot Dumps Il-86 on November 15

Aeroflot has announced that it is taking its fleet of 9 Ilyushin-86 Soviet era wide bodies out of service for reasons of fuel economy. The big four engined widebodies will no doubt find other uses in the freight and or charter business but they're on borrowed time in revenue service.

The Russian aviation industry has fallen on hard times. Although its design and engineering work has been world class, putting a commercial product on the market that can compete for sales in the real world and then going out and producing it in quantity has escaped them.

There is, of course, a neighbor with a burnin' desire to get involved in the aviation business in a big way, and links to the Russian aerospace industry that go back a long way.

Sino-Russian aircraft manufacturing: coming to an airport near you?

Stay tuned.

Canadian Nuke Miners Go Swimming

Prospects for developing a $12 billion body of uranium ore in northern Saskatchewan took a body blow Monday. Cameco, the mining giant, was unable to contain a flood of high pressure water in the Cigar Lake mine that's currently under development and was forced to abandon the mine. Apparently the water was contained in a sandstone formatiou under enormous pressure and it blew into the development drift after a rock fall. All efforts to halt the flood were futile.

Cameco has already sunk $500 million to bring the mine into production, which would have supplied about 20 per cent of world demand for the mineral.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

When You've Got Them By The Balls, Their Hearts And Minds Will Follow

This famous quote was once attributed to G. Gordon Liddy and it's appropriate because of the fact that Kim Jong Il, tin pot Fuhrer Deluxe of North Korea has decided that it was time to make nice with China for soiling his nuclear nappies. The truth of Liddy's maxim has thus been demonstrated anew.

Amazing what diplomacy will do when everyone's on board. As I opined a few days ago on the occasion of the beloved Leader's nuclear squib test, this was going to be up to China to carry the ball.

It's interesting to note how little attention North Korea paid to the rest of the civilized world during the pendency of this pathetic tantrum. One wonders what the message that China's representative delivered to der Fuhrer was, but I'd probably have given a few bucks to be a fly on the wall with an instant translator.

I'd be willing to guess that North Korea is going to behave a lot better from here on in, and I thinkthat the Pyongyang government lost a lot more than it hoped to gain here. It was revealed by the bungled test that their capability stands at zero, and they managed to insult the people who provide most of their food and fuel. I seriously doubt whether China will tolerate more foolishness of this nature, and we can erase North Korea from the nuclear club.

Pissing off the Chinese when you've got a contiguous land border and you depend on them for the heat in the house and the food on the table is a fool's game, anyway.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Bad Wind From Toulouse II: UPS A380 Order Under Review

Bad news travels fast-it now seems that given the delay announdement from The Emerald City, freight carrier UPS is reexamining its commitment to buy the A380 freighter.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Reality Check 1.0 at Airbus-UPDATE


Folks have started running the numbers re the recently announced 'break even' point that Airbus announced the other day for the A380 program. The Australian, usually a reasonably good source of information suggests that the company will have to turn $78 billion in A380 sales before the red ink stops.,20867,20616429-23349,00.html

That viewpoint is premised on Airbus getting the list price of $300 million USD for each and every one sold from here on in. That is not the way the business operates, though, and such an outcome is far from being a sure thing. The airlines place an order, they put down a deposit, and as the aircraft makers cut metal and move the airplane down the line they get progress payments until delivery day when the check and the keys are exchanged. Along the line there are refunds and such for not making milestones, such as Airbus is now having to pay.

The A380 program in the beginning probably looked a lot like the Canadair Challenger program, where every Tom Dick and Harry with $5,000 could get a delivery slot back when Canadair was trying to launch the project.

If I had to take a very unscientific wild assed guess I'd say the odds are that the future looks like this.

One of the big customers will cancel its orders in the near future. This could be Emirates, it could be Singapore Airlines. When that happens, it will trigger a wave of cancellations that will cause Airbus to cancel the entire program. If A380 production ever gets past the 13 or so half built ones in the factory and a handful more, I'll be mightily surprised.

It's reported today that The Emerald City has announced that the 'break even' point on the A380-you know, the number of frames when the negative cash flow starts reversing itself-where was I? Oh yes. The breakeven point is now 420 frames, up from a previously bandied about figure of 270.

Why is this important? Because I was having this discussion a year and a half ago with someone and when I told them that the breakeven point on the MD11 was 450 and that I figured the A380 was going to be about the same, they more or less told me I was full of ze merde.

Well about them pommes?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Bad Wind From Toulouse: Emirates, Singapore, Virgin Thinking Cancellation?

It's reported by Reuters today that Singapore Airlines has indeed been thinking hard about cancelling its orders for the A380. Here's a stement on the very subject as reported by La Tribune , a French newspaper that seems to have a direct pipeline into the Emerald City .

"If the deliveries are too far away and take place at a moment during which we do not need them, we could indeed cancel them," said Bey Soo Khiang, senior executive vice president of the airline, was quoted as saying in La Tribune.

Emirates has also let it be known that it is thinking about cancelling its orders for the A380.

And not to be diminished is Virgin Atlantic, which is also thinking about the very same topic.

My old man once told me, "Once is bad luck-twice is coincidence-three times is enemy action."

News From Nowhere: Update

In the first flurry of bloodletting in the Airbus saga, the Emerald City has laid off 1,000 temporary hires and is nobbling around the edges of other 'cost cutting measures'. This was probably to be expected at any rate, because product development has to be winding down-with the exception of the wiring harness contretemps.

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."

And Now, For Something Completely Different

Clicking on the title will take you to a parody profile of North Korean bonzo for days Kim Jong's really hilarious.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Amazing Kreskin Speaks on the Future of the A380

Well, it's not really the Amazing Kreskin-it's Sunday morning here at the Dougloid Building and it is a time to power down and reflect on all the miscellaneous stuff that's coming in through our ears and eyes.

The underlying assumption that guides a lot of people is that the airlines NEED the A380 like drug addicts need heroin, and that they'll submit to any level of abuse and delay to get their hands on the airplane no matter how long it takes.

It's not a religious experience-it's a piece of machinery, like a punch press in a factory or a garbage truck. Its sole function is to generate dollars for the people that buy it. Anything else is so much malarkey. To continue with the A380 is a business decision that's based on a continuum of considerations, and it is not motivated by brand loyalty.

At some point some airlines may decide that their need for a 555 seat aircraft that's payload limited is not as strong as their need to get on with the business of selling seats and hauling freight in the not too distant future. When the dollars in one column exceeds the dollars in the other column they will bail. And then they will litigate.

Part of the problem is that the airlines have already built the capacity they thought they were going to get into their business plan, and in some cases that may have included selling the tickets. If not direct sale, they've already made commitments to reallocate other resources in other areas because of this capacity that was supposed to come on line at a date certain. American Airlines had tickets sold for MD11s that were six months or a year away from completion and delivery....they're all the same that way. It's business.

I think the only thing holding back massive cancellations is the perception in the industry that the A380 is needed and is going to generate so much additional marginal income that it's worth the wait. And any cancellation will trigger a wave of others.

I know, I know you say "B-b-but gee, Sparky! it's big! It's beautiful! It's efficient! It's trendy! It's got a spa and a piano bar and a duty free shop!" All of which is true....but it's not capturing passenger and freight dollars this month as the airlines expected it would start to. Lack of an alternative in class and the fact the airlines right now think they need it is the only thing inhibiting a wave of cancellations.

Singapore Airlines, lest we forget, cancelled an order for 20 MD11s for a lot less abuse than they're getting from Airbus because there were competitive alternatives available in the same time frame. They have the ability to pull the pin.

Friends, somewhere in an anonymous office building somewhere in Doha or Singapore sits a computer that runs financial projections for an airline. In front of it is a person whose job it is is to input new data while the computer analyzes the financial model therein, which is the business case for the A380. When the tipping point is reached the decision will be made.

None of us are privileged to know exactly what that tipping point is, and it's something of a moving target based on a number of factors including compensation paid, initial discounted cost, the price of fuel, traffic projections, the time value of money, and so on. But I have a notion we're close-very close.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Misplaced Priorities, Part III UPDATE Part Deux

Here's the rilly rilly new stuff. The US is saying yes, it was a nuke, but a verrrrrrrry verrrrrrrry smarr one.

Here's the new stuff. In a rather expeditious way the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution calling for severe economic sanctions against the Hermit Kingdom for its nuke wanna be, which has not yet been proved to exist.

Wouldn't it be a laugh if they were trying to pull a Mulligan and brought the house down on their heads? That corner they were painting themselves into keeps getting smaller and smaller.

It's reported in the Miami Herald today that samples of air taken by the US, Japan and China around the area of the North Korean Big, no no, I really mean really big and you foreign devils are all going to be sorry Bang show no trace of radioactivity.

That's right. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Doodley squat. Bupkis.

All of which suggests that either the explosion did not have enough punch to dump a few gamma rays in the atmosphere, or that it was more North Korean shuck and jive.

Film at 11. This could be like the Long Dong Daddy, suitable for parades and mucho martial chest thumping but not ready for prime time.

Stay tuned. There'd be nothing we would like more than to out this bunch of pretentious, dangerous fools.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Idle Speculation: The Fatal Flaw

Folks, here's something I've been thinking about for a while, and the idea is not yet fully formed inside my head so bear with me.

For a while we've been told that the problems that led to the huge delays in the A380 program were the failure to properly integrate design software, such that the wiring bundles from Germany did not fit. This, it is said, was because of customer requests for in flight entertainment equipment.

I think it's something that is much more fundamental, and this is based on four years on the production line and flight line at Douglas. Essentially, the new schedule is telling me that there is something so fundamentally wrong with the execution of the aircraft that Airbus has gone back to a clean sheet of paper and said "OK, boys-rip it out-all of it- and let's start over."

Mere IFE wiring faults wouldn't cause that sort of a delay to the schedule, and if it was, they'd deliver the aircraft without the IFE and fix it in the field. At least that's what Douglas would have done-send out a RAMS team and tell them not to come home until it was fixed.

It's also something that Airbus is keeping a lid on. The information's just not out there.

So bear with my paranoia for a while.....

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Memo to Airbus Workers: BOHICA

It appears that, as usual, The Emerald City is denying rumors that its new chief, Louis "Louie Louie" Gallois is about to announce job cuts on the order of 10,000 or more worker bees.

I've given up even trying to keep track of the denials-every time the Emerald City denies some rumor it's apt to be true-information security there being like a cheap swiss cheese-more holes than meat. They really should look into the...ahem...leakage.

Of course, the people who will get the bum's rush will be the people least responsible for the massive screwups that led to this sorry pass, least of all the lotus eaters who sat there while the ship was going up on the reefs.

So from one laid off aerospace worker to 10,000 or so others, here's a nifty aerospace acronym used at Douglas back when we were getting the shank and youse guys were watching from the bleachers:

BOHICA. The long version is Bend Over Here It Comes Again. You're welcome to use it all you need to.

Misplaced Priorities Update: Big Bang a Flop?

There's an interesting article this morning in the Los Angeles Times. It's suggested that the seismic event the other day in North Korea (which seems to have been an attempt to detonate a nuclear device) produced a yield on the level of about 3 per cent of the yield from the Little Boy and Fat Man bombs. If that's so, the blast had a yield of about 600 tons of TNT. Nothing to sniff at, to be sure, but hardly Armageddon on a large scale.

The consensus of the experts is that the test, technologically speaking was a failure to adequately compress the fissile material. Which means that the North Korean bomb program, like the missile program, was a dangerous flop. It doesn't mean they'll stop trying, but it does mean they haven't figured out how to make it go bang.

What that suggests is that the test was a failure, technologically speaking, along the lines of the latest test of the Long Dong Daddy. It also establishes the metrics of the North Korean nuke program more concretely. We now know their performance level where the rubber meets the road.

Stay tuned.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Turn Out The Lights In Cuba?

Rumors are swirling about whether Fidel is going to be up and about before you know it just like the Energizer Bunny, or whether he's got terminal cancer and is down for the count. People do not get turned into canoes for no reason.

Fact is, Fidel's long in the tooth and probably should have retired and provided an orderly succession years ago, ambled down to the beach, lit up a stogie and ordered a Cuba Libre for a job well done. But like many champions, he may have stayed on until his best days were behind him.

This could be an interesting story, and it looks to me as if the next year may be very interesting vis a vis Cuba, the emigres, and Uncle Sugar.

One thing's for sure-it's going to leave Hugo Chavez out on one big damned limb. Hugo, don't worry about the smell of sulfur....that's just your breakfast burrito announcing its presence.

Rolls Tables Trent 900 Production For 1 Year UPDATE

Engine Alliance, the folks (GE/P&W/SNECMA) who are building the GP7200 for the A380 are also suspending production pending difinition of the delay situation.

Stay tubed.

As the Airbus Turns, Part Deux: Strieff Hits the Showers

It is being reported today by Reuters that if you were thinking that things couldn't get worse at Festung Airbus you were wrong.

In fact, we here at the Dougloid Papers have decided that the Festung Airbus monicker is a little too associative of strength and purpose. Henceforth, the Airbus team shall be referred to collectively as The Emerald City.

Mr. Strieff was hired to clean out the Augean Stables of the A380 Albatross program and restore some credibility to the program and the company, in view of the wiring/production problems/software/ communications problems that together put the A380 two or more years behind schedule, sucked up every available dollar, and threatens to take the A350WXB down into the swirling toilet.

However, after a weekend that had rumors of his demise emerging and heated denials as usual, the writing's likely on the wall, according to sources close to the volcano: Strieff's check will be waiting for him at the plant gate.

Apparently telling people what he thinks is needed to fix the mess was the wrong thing to say in The Emerald City, particularly at the German branch where saying that their parts don't fit in the assembly hall is about as welcome as a turd in a punchbowl.

All of this makes me wonder "What could possibly be next?"

Stay tuned.

Further information at:

Misplaced Priorities in North Korea

As everyone probably knows, the North Koreans have upped the political ante considerably on the peninsula by detonating a nuke. Whether they've got a launch vehicle capable of doing anything with it is another question.

The real question is what, if anything, will be done about it and who will be doing it. Diplomacy seems to have been a waste of time and jet fuel. Japan and South Korea are in range, and it is a matter of great concern to them, coupled with the bellicose ranting of North Korea and its tin pot Fuhrer.

My money's on China. They've been supporting Kim Jong Il. It's their mess, their doorstep, their client state. Time to take care of business.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Fall of The House of Ampeg

One of my correspondents forwards me the linked article which is a sad state of affairs, indeed.

Let me back up a bit to my garage band days in New Jersey. Paul Faro had an Ampeg B15 amp which was his pride and joy. Made in north Jersey, Ampeg was known for their blue vinyl coverings and bulletproof rugged construction. They were a favorite of serious musicians and they were, as the saying goes, built for the road. I never had the dough to afford one. Like a lot of others my metier was Silvertone from the House of Danelectro by way of the Sears catalog-another New Jersey company in the music trade by the way.

When Ampeg closed their doors, there was a flurry of spinoffs in the great diaspora, which included Sound, the creations of Jess Oliver, and the efforts of Dennis Kager, so I am told. Andy Fuchs of Fuchs Audio Technologies knows more of the folklore of this supernova than nearly anyone else around.

There were some signs of life yet. The line was bought by Magnavox and moved to the south, and production of the mammoth SVT bass amp continued. When that failed, someone in Japan made a few more SVTs and then, it seemed, the flame guttered out for the last time.

But Ampeg reemerged from the ashes when St. Louis Music, the folks who manufactured Crate amps and a lot of other stuff bought the name and the rights out of bankruptcy, and started production in a new facility in Yellville, Arkansas as SLM Electronics. The future seemed bright. However, it was not to last.

It seems that SLM Electronics was bought by something called Loud Technologies which seems to be a conglomerate of musical equipment brands. I have not reviewed the SEC filings that brought the plan to light because EDGAR was down this evening.

With that, Loud Technologies announced plans to close the Yellville facility fire the workers, and move production to Viet Nam.

Larry White, a 58 year old production worker at the Yellville facility is now going to be out of a job. At an age when most folks are thinking of retirement Larry, a veteran of the Viet Nam war, will be thinking about getting something to eat. What he said about all this is poignant and tragic, because there does not seem to be one damned thing that any of us can do to stanch the hemorrhage of jobs from the working folks in this country.

Larry said, "Forty years ago they were trying to kill me, and now, they've got my job."

Larry, I've been there. Not as a vet but as an older worker bee kicked out in the street and wondering what the hell I was going to do to eat. The hurt doesn't go away-it just scabs over.

Shame on you, LOUD Technologies, whomever you are. I mean, what the hell's the matter? People in Arkansas who work their asses off in poultry plants for $6 an hour not cheap enough for you? People in Mexico, our neighbors, too damned expensive? China even? What are you made of?

In the future, I shall figure out what it is you do and dissociate myself from it.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Cycling Post Gains Devil Cat Endorsement

As you know we here at the Dougloid Papers, high atop the Dougloid Building....well, it's really just me and Darla who is kind of like the 12th Imam, and Zelda the Devil Cat and it's the back bedroom of half a duplex in Des Moines...anyway, we're professional cycling fans. Every time we take out the $12 Cannondale road bike for a 20 or 30 miler up the Neal Smith Trail we realize afresh what it is that makes cycling so enjoyable in all its permutations. I still plan to do the solo century this year if possible.

We've found a nifty site that has a lot of content and information for those of us who think that there's nothing finer than to follow the soap opera that is the Tour de France and everything that leads up to it.

It has been added to the blogroll. Great work, fellows.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A350 WXB on the Block, Says Enders.

Forbes is reporting that there is real question emerging as to whether the A350WXB will be given the launch go ahead or whether development will be halted on the middleweight competitor to the B787.

It is reported that Thomas Enders of EADS has told the Financial Times that he could not rule out halting development of the aircraft. On the other hand, Mr. Streiff of Airbus says that the A350WXB must be developed even if it is three or four years behind the competition, according to USA Today.

Folks, this is getting ugly. I smell the odor of decomposition.

Stay tuned.

Rolls Tables Trent 900 Production For 1 year

Flight International is reporting today that Rolls Royce has suspended production of the Trent 900 engine that powers the Airbus A380 for at least one year starting immediately.

None of this can be good news at Goodrich, which is one of the largest component sources around for A380 parts, including landing gear, evacuation slides, and fuel management and distribution gear for the big Trent.

One of my clients said one time that things like this are like a slow acting bomb-the first things killed are those closest to the blast. Let us fervently hope that it is not so in this case.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Flopping Sound You Hear IS W. Edwards Deming Rolling Over In His Grave At 700 RPM

The Seattle Post Intelligencer is reprinting the text of Streiff's statement of policy and address on As The Airbus Turns.

It's about as bad as bad could be, unless, of course, things get worse. At this point the plan is to deliver one A380 to Singapore Airways in October 2007. That's right, 2007. Thereafter, 13 in 2008, 25 in 2009 and 45 in 2010.

Streiff identifies some of the root causes of the delays which were largely an inability to integrate the wiring bundles in the places where they were supposed to go in the real fuselage. However that softpedals the scope of the problem. It was not a 'lousy fit' problem but a 'never, no, not in a million years is that going where it's supposed to' problem, so far off the map that it couldn't be repaired shipside.

The worst thing, I suppose, is that this was all so predictable. It's vintage Murphy's Law.

I guess nobody really checked to see if the harnesses WOULD fit before the 'production' items were on the trucks to Toulouse for install.

What that says to this former worker bee is that there were far too many lard asses in the offices far from the assembly line thinking they could build stuff by looking at pictures on a tube instead of getting out shipside to see how this stuff worked in the real world of the factory. This is a problem that should have been identified and fixed two years ago and not when they're trying to put the finished product together.

I can say with a fair degree of assurance that this kind of a screwup would never have happened at Douglas. Whatever else I may say about their antiquated production methods and silly management, engineering was always right there, with the authority to do whatever it took to fix the problems that production identified. The top drawer engineering people were as close as the telephone. Nobody ever lost sight of the fact that we were building airplanes, and if we didn't build airplanes we were all going to be out on the street.

It is that lesson which is costing Airbus dear to learn and internalize. If they pull it off, they'll be a better and wiser company for it and will have learned a worthwhile lesson: you can't build airplanes sitting behind a desk hundreds of miles from where they're being built.

La Tribune Reports 2-3 A380s in 2007, A320 Production to Hamburg

Reuters is reporting this morning that the French paper La Tribune says that Airbus will deliver 2 or 3 A380s next year and that production will be taken out of Hamburg. In recompense the A320 production will be moved to Hamburg.

What all this will do to the A350WXB and the plan to set up A320 production in China is anybody's guess at this time. My guess is that the China project is going to be shunted on a siding for the time being. We can also expect some delays to the full on launch of the A350WXB-which happens to be something that Festung Airbus really needs, if the Boeing city pairs model of air transport proves to be the more accurate view of what the market will look like over the next 20 years or so.

Any other extracurricular efforts are likely going to resemble Otzi the Iceman, a/k/a Frozen Fritz-we'll be seeing them in a few thousand years, more or less.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Microsoft v. The Known Universe Part Deux

There have been reports lately that the commercial antivirus software community is getting annoyed at Microsoft because it's not sharing the inner workings of its new Windows Vista operating system. One commentator suggests that the main reason that Vista has taken an inordinate amount of time to produce was because it does not share its innards with XP.

One might think that the prescient in the antivirus software community could have said "Hey! We're only here because Microsoft can't get its act together security wise. What happens if they do get it together? What's the business plan, huh?"

But they didn't. And it's to their detriment to think the good times would go on forever and that Microsoft would always be Microsoft. On the other hand, the hacker community seems to be pretty good at finding flaws in Microsoft products, so maybe reports of the death of the for-pay antivirus software sellers will be greatly exaggerated.

I could care less, anyway. I've got AVG Free.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Bangkok Post: Thai Airways Reconsidering A380

In a week that is bringing Airbus, in Don McLean's words "bad news on the doorstep", a report from the Bangkok Post suggests that Thai Airways is reconsidering its order for the A380. It is reported that Thai Airways will make its decision on the future of the A380 in their business plan in the next three weeks.

Accodring to the article, the other shoe has not dropped with respect to Mr. Strieff's anticipated plan of reformation of the A380 production mess.

Stay tuned-this week will be interesting.

Schedule Reductions, Outsourcing in Airbus' Future?

Bloomberg is reporting today that no more than four A380s will be delivered in 2007, according to a person who does not wish to be identified-probably because if they became known they'd be looking for a job.

They also may eliminate a number of jobs through early retirement, outsourcing and other cost cutting measures. Mr. Strieff has not yet made the plan public, but I am sure it'll trickle out in the next couple days. It's hard to hide bad news.

Stay tuned for collateral damage reports.