Some retrospective thoughts of 2012

As the year winds down, we look back and view the year as somewhat anti-climatic.

We thought Boeing would make a decision on what to do about the 777X. Hasn’t happened.

We thought there would be a formal launch of the 787-10. This didn’t happen, either, though there has been a “soft” Authority to Offer.

Bombardier won’t fly its CSeries this month, which was no surprise.

Embraer still hasn’t decided about its re-engining of the E-Jet.

Airbus’ order book will be quite respectable but a new bar had been set last year and the company is well short of matching that. (Wags will suggest that the famed Airbus “fifth quarter” has yet to occur. This refers to the seeming ability of John Leahy, COO-Customers, to announce hundreds of orders in January.)

Farnborough was expected to be so boring that we didn’t bother to go. The only surprise was Mitsubishi’s left-field announcement of an MOU for 100 MRJs with SkyWest Airlines of the USA. (This deal was firmed up this week.) This truly gives the MRJ program the boost it needs.

Boeing did come roaring back with around 1,000 orders for the 737 MAX, but this was also expected. This will return Boeing to the No. 1 spot after years of trailing Airbus.

The 787 program still has its challenges, with rework now said to extend into 2015 and a couple of in-flight interruptions that are more embarrassing to Boeing than substantive issues.

Airbus announced another delay to the A350 and skepticism still swirls around the -800’s future. The A380 remains a financial drag.

Most entertaining, and entirely irrelevant, are the ad wars that broke out between Airbus and Boeing. The churlish bickering is beneath both companies, whose public claims of efficiency for the A380 v 747-8 and A320neo v 737 MAX don’t match the data they show the airlines. We’ve been reduced to cross-checking claims by both companies with customers for reality checks.

EADS-Airbus underwent one of its required changes in leadership. Government interference continued.

Jim Albaugh shocked the industry by stepping down as CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes with no advance notice.

Next year will be a lot more interesting. We’ll have our 2013 preview in a few weeks.

A story of interest today:

Airbus decentralizes.