Farnborough: Odds and Ends

Best One-Liner:

Airbus’ John Leahy is famous for his witty one-liners, but the best one at the show goes to Boeing’s Randy Tinseth. As we were waiting for the Boeing press briefing to begin on Day 1, we remarked how dirty the Airbus A380 test plane was. A regular at air shows, the plane was parked right outside the media center. It clearly hadn’t been scrubbed down for looks, with dirt streaks all over the fuselage. The logos of the A380 customers at the front of the airplane were equally covered in dirt. It stood in sharp contrast to the new Boeing 787 parked just yards away from the A380, in its shiney white paint.

Said Tinseth, virtually giggling: “They don’t wash it because they’re afraid one of the logos will come off,” suggesting a cancellation. “And you can quote me on that.”

We told the story to one of Airbus’ top PR people, who grudgenly acknowleged it was a great line. No slouch himself, he retorted the 787 was so clean because it hasn’t flown much.

Speaking of one-liners

It was a joyous occasion: Steve Hazy, former CEO of ILFC, was back. He, John Plueger (also previously of ILFC), Airbus CEO Tom Enders and the aforementioned Leahy had a standing-room only crowd to announce Hazy’s order for 51 Airbus A320s/321s to launch his new Air Lease Corp. The announcement was to be followed by executing the contracts in front of the international journalists.

Hazy made the announcement and started to open the press conference. Leahy leaned around Enders, who was sitting between them and said, “Hey, can we sign the papers first?” to the laughter of the entire room.

Thanks for the tour; I still like my Mom best

Airbus CEO Tom Enders was treated to a tour of the Boeing 787 by Boeing executives Jim McNerney and Jim Albaugh. It’s a courtesy extended by one rival to another, as did Airbus when the A380 made its first air show appearance.

Airbus puts its airliners through the paces to provide flying performances, which are pretty impressive since the planes maneuver in ways passengers hope they never would when they are on board.  Boeing doesn’t like to put its airplanes in the air, saying the displays aren’t worth the potential risk.

In this context, Enders couldn’t help but provide a good-natured jab to Boeing’s ribs.

“We bring our planes to air shows to fly. Boeing brings theirs to shows to park.”

Those Germans have a great sense of humor.

We’ll be cleared by WTO: Boeing

Here’s a story we prepared for Commercial Aviation Online:

Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, declared that the company will be cleared of allegations of receiving illegal subsidies when the World Trade Organization issues its Interim Report in September (or whenever).

Albaugh made the rather startling prediction during the press briefing Monday at the Farnborough Air Show. Previous Boeing statements, Airbus and its parent, EADS, European officials and even some Boeing supporters in Congress indicated that some violations were expected to be found.

“We don’t think they will find we violated WTO rules,” Albaugh said to a packed briefing room. He hastily added, “But if they do, we will remedy them.”

Write what I say, not what you think I mean

When Boeing’s Scott Fancher revealed, on the Thursday preceding Farnborough, that the first delivery of the 787 could slip into 2011, we asked him was that the first quarter or second quarter or what? Fancher replied, rather ambiguously, that any slippage would be measured in weeks, not months.

(It was later pointed out to us that, in the true Presidential Definition of “that depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is,” weeks could pretty much mean anything.)

During the Boeing press briefing on Day 1, Andrea Rothman of Bloomberg News took a stab at it and asked Albaugh whether the slippage was Q1 or Q2. Albaugh barely contained himself to disabuse us all of this one:

“First quarter, first month. Don’t write anything else,” he said in a clipped style, but with a pixi-ish smile.

You’re never satisfied

After a long draught in orders for the A380, Airbus landed 32 of them at the Berlin Air Show from Emirates Airlines. At the Airbus wrap-up press conference Thursday at Farnborough, a reporter asked would there be any more this year. Leahy feigned indignation and said, “What–32 isn’t enough?”

Leahy hopes for one more new customer this year for the giant airplane.

6 Comments on “Farnborough: Odds and Ends

  1. Yeah, the start of new Steve Hazy’s company is really impressive. Can imagine how incumbent lessors should feel facing such a competitor.

  2. Good stuff. Its good to see that the actual people who are in the middle of the “battle” actually have a better sense of humor than many of the kool-aiders…that does include me as well…

  3. Comparison Airbus vs. Boeing Orders

    FARNBOROUGH, England, July 22 (Reuters) – Following is a breakdown of orders for passenger jets reported by the world’s two largest planemakers and/or their customers at/during the
    Farnborough Airshow.

    — Net Firm Orders — — Provisional —

    Planes List value Planes List value

    Airbus 130 $13.2 bln 122 $15 bln

    Boeing 103 $10.4 bln* 54 $4.1 bln

    Net firm orders exclude orders already in the published order summaries with the buyer previously unidentified

    * includes 1 conversion to 767-300ER by Azerbaijan Airlines



    Air Lease Corp 51 A320-Series $4.4 bln
    Aeroflot 11 A330-300 $2.3 bln#
    GECAS 60 A320-Series $4.9 bln
    Garuda 3** A330-200 $1.2 bln
    Germania 5 A319 $0.4 bln

    ** excl. 3 already in order book as unidentified byuyer


    LAN 50 A320-Series $4.2 bln
    Hong Kong Airlines 10 A330-200 $1.9 bln
    Hong Kong Airlines 15 A350-900 $3.8 bln
    Thai Airways 7 A330-300 $1.5 bln
    Virgin America 40 A320-Series $3.3 bln



    GECAS 40 737-800 $3.1 bln
    Norwegian Air Shuttle 15 737-800 $1.2 bln
    Emirates 12* 777-300ER $3.3 bln
    American 35 737-800 $2.7 bln
    Azerbaijan Airlines 1** 767-300ER $0.2 bln

    * excl. 18 already in order book as unidentified buyer

    ** converted from an existing order for a different model


    Air Lease Corp 54 737-800 $4.1 bln

  4. Indeed the A380 did appear to be cosmetically tired & dishevelled but for the third time at Farnborough provided a outstanding flying display.

    Whilst realising the 787 is still a prototype (not experimental) the absence of any Boeing commercial type flying was blatent major blunder.

    Boeing being cautious with a static 787 perhaps?

    Given the limited flight test data coming out of Boeings PR dept. to throw this airframe around at 2010’s most influential air show just might cause a media melt down so sitting on the apron makes commercial sense.

    At this juncture not stressing her too much & keeping her straight & level seems the safest option.

  5. If the energy Leahy and Tinseth spent sniping at each other’s companies and products could be re-diverted into product engineering and development, no programs would be delayed!

    • I like your humour 😉

      The problem is that from a certain point onwards
      instead of outperforming the opposition it
      is much cheaper and effective to hack away
      at your opponents legs ( though it may appear to
      be a bit pythonesce )

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