Thursday, February 08, 2007

Big Noise From Toulouse

Da Festung's chief il Duce John Leahy announced the other day that there were two potential new customers for the A380 and that they'd sign for 20 before the end of the year. In connection with a media event for the press, the A380 managed to capture the attention of the jaded masses for half an hour or so.

Reality check: United Parcel Service announced an order for 27 B767 freighters, which suggests that their confidence in the ability of Airbus to deliver the A380 could be waning. Oh, I know, they didn't exactly say that, but they're betting on a different horse.

In addition, it was announced by the Independent that British Airways is set to announce an order for 10 B777s for its long haul fleet. Yet, Airbus is in competition for the BIG BA order later this year which may be in the neighborhood of $10 billion USD, and it is pitching the A380 and the A350XWB against the B787 and B747-8. That would appear to be an uphill battle as the Airbus offerings either aren't going to be available for a number of years or don't even exist except in some artist's renderings. There are problems doing business from an empty wagon.

There are a couple of snippets of information that came out of all this that are interesting.

The seat count on the media flight that took place yesterday was about 436, if I recall correctly, far from the 555 seat ubercarrier that was pitched to the world. That's a sort of admission that the weight problem is still around, clanking its chains like Marley's Ghost.

The second interesting point of information is Leahy's attempt at pseudocandor, "This is going to be a game changing airplane, the only minor problem was that we couldn't build it on time."

I'm glad that the ongoing hassles with the A380, which still isn't being delivered to the customers and hasn't had a new order from a new customer since 2005 are a "minor problem". I'm sure the people who have ordered the A380 will take mighty comfort from that.

Take a peek at the Independent article. It's interesting reading.


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