Odds and Ends: MAKS summary; Airbus look; A350 launch aid; slow freighter sales

MAKS Air Show Summary: This account summarizes the orders placed at the Moscow Air Show, known as MAKS. It appears only Bombardier among Western OEMs made any commercial deals.

Looking at Airbus: Aspire Aviation takes a long look at Airbus.

A350 Launch Aid: Airbus and Germany are at odds over more than 600m Euros of a 1.1bn Euro loan for development of the A350 XWB. The sticking point: job allocation. Why Airbus needs or wants this government-sponsored launch aid remains a mystery to us. Get the governments out of its knickers and be a true commercial company.

Slow freighter sales: This report details slow freighter sales for Boeing and Airbus. This is reflected in the poor sales of the Boeing 747-8F and the Airbus A330-200F.

66 Comments on “Odds and Ends: MAKS summary; Airbus look; A350 launch aid; slow freighter sales

  1. I can understand why the German government is upset over the “loan” to Airbus about the launch of an airplane that will increase jobs in France, but not Germany.

  2. I think the “F” models from Boeing and Airbus will stay at very sales for the rest of this year. There may be a little growth in “F” model sales in 2014, as the world begins preparing for economic growth beginning in Jan. 2017 when the next US President takes office and implements his or her economic packages, which hopefully will finally begin to recover from the current 2008-2016 economic slump.

    Airbus will still only have one “F” model for sale, the A-330-200F as the A-350-900F will not yet be in production, if it ever is. Airbus has never been big on selling any “F” model, although the now out of production A-300-600F did have moderate success.

    Boeing has had some past success in selling its 3 big “F” models, the B-747-8F, B-777-200LRF, and B-767-300ERF. It also has two other offers, but no commercial sales yet, the smaller WB B-767-2CLRF (bought by the US Air Force as the KC-46A)and the NB B-737-700C (which only the US Navy has bought as the C-40A).

    I believe “F” model sales from both OEMs can only go up from here in the near to mid-term future.

    • I doubt the success of the 767-300F. Production started in 1993 with an order of 30 aircraft for UPS. The next big order was in 2007 again by UPS with 27 aircraft. In between Boeing sold 19 freighters. Also I guess that this 27 aircraft in 2007 were to keep the line open until KC-X competition was solved. Next big order was 2011/12 by FedEx with 42 aircraft due to the delayed KC-X decision. 130 freighters sold in 20 years. Production rate for 767 for the last 10 years was about 15 aircraft a year. I rate the last two big orders as a gap fillers to keep the line open. I doubt that the 300F was such a commercial success.

      US Navy operates 9 B737-700Cs. I can guess who paid for the development.

      • According to Wikipedia, the US Navy purchased the 700C’s using “standard commercial practices”. No mention of a development contract is made.

      • The B-767-300ERF has paid for its development, and then some. It beat its only competition, the A-300-600F(52), and the A-330-200F (48 or 54 depending on which numbers you accept) in combined sales.
        I might add that 38 A-306Fs were canceled (not counted in the 52 actually sold) by UPS when they were offered the A-380-800F (10) which Airbus ended in “delaying development” (read canceled program). That ended UPS’s sales of Airbus “F” models, at least for now. UPS went onto order 8 new build B-747-400Fs (and 2 B-737-400BDSFs, converted by IAI) and the 27 B-767-300ERFs to replaced the canceled orders of the A-388F and A-306F. It was then Airbus essentially handed the entire “F” model orders to Boeing. Sales of the A332F have been slow, especially since it lost to the B-763F for the big FedEx order at a time when “F” models of all types were selling slow.

        As for the B-737-700C/C-40A, it is a certified combi aircraft and probably the last combi to ever be certified by the FAA. IIRC it is the FAA that will not allow commercial sales of combi aircraft now, which limits the C-40A sales to military forces. You are correct, the USN has, so far, taken delivery of 9 C-40As, and has funded another 4 of them. The USN eventually wants to have 24 C-40As in the fleet.

        The B-747-8F has sold some 67 airplanes, and delivered about 44 to date.

        The runaway sales success in the “F” model market lately has been the B-777-200LRF which has sold some 125 airplanes and delivered about 75 of them to date.

    • Well, that analysis relies on one view of U.S. economic prospects. History (http://tinyurl.com/9zcryou) doesn’t suggest that things will work exactly that way. At any rate, count me as one American hoping the global air freight markets don’t receive the balmy benefits of a Republican presidency again for a long, long time.

  3. ” Why Airbus needs or wants this government-sponsored launch aid remains a mystery to us.”

    Several time you wrote similar comments. Could you please tell us why Airbus should not use the RLI?

    • We don’t believe in corporate welfare.

      We don’t believe a commercially viable company needs government aid. It should go to the commercial markets.

      We don’t believe that after 40+ years in business, Airbus needs government support to get off the ground.

      And as the article says, it gives the governments “permission” to meddle in business decisions.

      • Scott, shareholders of EADS would probably pretty upset (and rightly so) if Airbus could get a certain amount of loans at an interest rate of, say, 2% (not an actual number as far as I’m aware) from governments, while they’d pay more than twice that if they sourced all their loans on the commercial market at X times that rate.

        In the end, the logic is the same behind Boeing allocating work to South Carolina because they are offered tax incentives there, and Airbus/EADS taking advantage of lower loan rates which are attached to allocating work to the loan-giving country.

        Realistically, both Airbus and Boeing are going to use incentives offered to them if they feel that they benefit the respective company. For Boeing that mostly means taking advantage of tax breaks (and profiting from more direct subsidies to Japanese risk sharing partners in the 787 programme), while Airbus profits mostly in the shape of re-payable (with interest) loans from governments.

        • ANfromme,

          Under the WTO ruling, launch aid must be at market rates, not sub-market rates, so you lead-off point is no longer possible.

          You don’t see SC, WA, TX, KS governments interfering with Boeing’s business decisions like Germany/France have done and want to do. We agree that if Boeing gets tax incentives, so should Airbus but this is different from launch aid.

      • As a short PS: The WTO has ruled partly against Boeing, partly against Airbus in the whole government-subsidy affair. The big point to take away not being that they were both violating some rules, but that some of the aid both sides received was actually perfectly allowable by WTO standards.
        Which means there may be some adjustments to the terms and conditions on both sides to avoid any trade wars. But there is *not* going to be a full stop to government aid in various shapes to Airbus and Boeing. Both companies have too much weight to not be given various incentives to keep work in or bring work to certain locations in exchange for tax breaks, cheap loans, being a “Right to work” state, etc.

        I almost forgot: Airbus is of course also profiting from incentives offered by Alabama, so it’s not just Boeing that takes advantage of tax breaks offered by US states. I know most Fortune 100 companies do, actually, so just using the aviation industry, and Airbus in particular, to start a discussion about how profitable companies shouldn’t make use of government tax breaks/cheap loans ignores the bigger picture.

        To clarify: I’m not a big fan of such government incentives to begin with, ironically because it basically pitches states/countries against each other in a sort of market where everybody wants to “buy” the most knowdledge and jobs for themselves. (And of course states/countries expect something in return – giving away tax breaks/cheap loans effectively for free would be manifestly stupid.)

        In any case, I consider both parties equally guilty here – but Airbus and Boeing are just two companies. The much bigger problem in this context is that large parts of the economy quite naturally use such incentives without thinking twice about it; and even a lot of pure-market-believers don’t think twice about that, because to them, it’s just different states/countries competing for their slice of the cake by offering attractive terms and conditions. Some of them will argue that tax breaks are okay while cheap repayable loans aren’t – but to this day I fail to understand the logic behind that; in both cases, the company has more money at its disposal, while the government has less.
        Ironically, a bit less market ideology in the inter-state/country “job market” actually lead to companies depending less on incentives that some argue are not in compliance with the spirit of a “free market”. Not that there really is much agreement to begin with on how free a free market is or could/should/would be.

      • Under the WTO ruling, launch aid must be at market rates, not sub-market rates, so you lead-off point is no longer possible.

        I didn’t even mention the WTO in my first response. I was only responding to your statement that you don’t understand why Airbus would want these loans at all. However, I perfectly understand why they would – it’s because those loans have better terms attached to them than commercial loans do.

        As for the WTO ruling – as I recall the ruling said that launch aid had to be offered on market terms. Terms would include much more than just the interest rates.
        In any case, to be honest, I don’t care much about the WTO ruling as long as both sides do nothing but finger-pointing at the other side. Until they both start accepting that they need to change some things about how they go about helping their aircraft industry, it’s a moot point on both sides.

        You don’t see SC, WA, TX, KS governments interfering with Boeing’s business decisions like Germany/France have done and want to do. We agree that if Boeing gets tax incentives, so should Airbus but this is different from launch aid.

        To be honest, I think you’re mixing up a few things here. There’s political influence in EADS via its shareholder structure.
        However, this loan is a completely separate matter – the German government expect a certain work allocation to Germany in return for providing a cheap loan to Airbus.
        SC, WA, TX, KS governments tie their tax brakes to jobs as well (just like Alabama does in the case of Airbus). I don’t see how Germany tying their agreement to provide a loan (particularly the last batch of €623m) to a certain amount of R&D work being allocated to Germany by Airbus.
        If that’s political influence, then SC, WA, TX, KS are exerting political influence over Boeing as well.

      • Tax breaks and incentives are not the same as start up loans. One cannot, at least as far a I know, start a real business on the basis of tax breaks and incentives. Those will only come into play after a profit is made, property purchased, or construction undertaken.

        On the other hand, one can start up a business or a program with a loan, and if the lender is a government providing very favorable terms and lenient payback policies, then the government might well see themselves more along the lines of an investor rather than a bank. Investors typically have some sort of say, either directly or indirectly, in how the company is run.

      • Roughly Airbus received an order of magnitude more financial aid/low-interest loans from the European governments than the tax breaks given to Boeing.

        If the digit after the decimal point were omitted, Airbus would be the entity that receives government handouts.

        Saying “both parties” “equally guilty” just does not pass muster.

      • I still don’t see here a reason why they should not use RLIs.
        Believes are nice but they do not not make businesses successful.

        Note that there can’t be major business without government interference, particularly in Europe.

      • Leeham: I have only 1 point to add… what if it isn’t Airbus asking for the loan, but rather the gov’t.
        As you mention there should be no reason why Ab needs the 600m (a measly sum compared to the Ab revenue) – But I can see several reasons why the gov’t should like to lend it to Ab – specifically for the direct influence it provides. Rather then fight the french shareholder, just pay money to the company in return for job guarantees.

        That may be why Ab is saying the talks are over, while the gov’t is more Hopeful (desperate?)

      • @Petten:

        Roughly Airbus received an order of magnitude more financial aid/low-interest loans from the European governments than the tax breaks given to Boeing.
        If the digit after the decimal point were omitted, Airbus would be the entity that receives government handouts.
        Saying “both parties” “equally guilty” just does not pass muster.

        You completely fail to take into account that the loans paid to Airbus are repayable, with interest and indefinite royalties on every plane produced of a type that was financed via government loans (i.e. the loan-giving countries still receive a cheque for every A330 and A32S delivered, even though the original loans for these programmes have long been paid back).
        The same cannot be said for the tax breaks Boeing receives.

  4. A350 Launch Aid: Airbus and Germany are at odds over more than 600m Euros of a 1.1bn Euro loan for development of the A350 XWB. The sticking point: job allocation. Why Airbus needs or wants this government-sponsored launch aid remains a mystery to us. Get the governments out of its knickers and be a true commercial company.

    By the same token then, I assume you also expect Boeing to stop allocating work to US states that offer them tax brakes and other incentives in exchange for jobs created/kept in those states?

    • Then equally, in addition to national aid, should the likes of German state and local, and French regional, department and commune, “tax breaks and other incentives in exchange for jobs created/kept in those states,” be considered?

      • Sure, why not?
        Not sure how much these really amount to, though, seeing as the US didn’t include those in its WTO complaint.

        I think the whole discussion is hypocritical, because the US pretend that tax breaks don’t constitute a subsidy, while Germany/France/Spain/UK pretend that cheap loans don’t constitute a subsidy. Both of course do.
        If, as Scott says, a profitable company should not take advantage of government loans with favourable conditions, then I don’t see why a profitable company should receive any tax breaks.
        But even if you try to restrict such subsidies to companies that aren’t profitable, you can bet money of profitable companies coming up with ways of structuring their business so an artificially unprofitable subsidiary applies for the available tax breaks. One of Germany’s biggest dairy producers is quite good at that – they are hugely profitable and used a 100% owned subsidiary to apply for tax breaks and loans to invest in East Germany – and ended up closing one of their most profitable plants in favour of that plant in the East, where they managed to be unprofitable in the eyes of the taxman for quite a few years, while the plant actually made a positive contribution to the company’s overall results.

        By the way – to give you an idea of how much of a difference tax breaks can make to companies, consider that such tax breaks are the reason why many companies now set up call centres in Utah and other US states, rather than India – because overall cost is almost on par, with the added benefit that you can tell customers that you’re supporting them with “US citizens on US soil” (which, as I’m told, is quite valuable when dealing with certain customers).

  5. RE: Aspire Aviation takes a long look at Airbus.
    Pls tell me where I’m wrong but (hoped for) 777-9X launch customer EK will, in comparison with their 777-300ERs, get 20 extra seats (2 rows), 7% better sfc, 15% less powerful engine and new wings with great hinges. From 2021.

    With all respect, that should make Ek retire their A380s? Really? Isn’t the A380 e.g 50% bigger anyhow? I think we might be jumping to conclusions here. What if EK simply orders 50 more A350-1000s..

    KCT, regarding Airbus’ small position in the freighter market, I guess the freighter is a good place to be absent at this moment. No one is investing in big expensive freighters, they are parking them. The desert is full of good, (cheap to be converted) 747-400s as Scott showed. It hurts the eyes to see these beauties in the desert…

    http://www.airteamimages.com/pics/117/117649_800.jpg

  6. Regarding MAKS orders: Airbus’ and Boeing’s presence is minimal. BBD went in with a large cabin mock-up of the C-Series. I think MAKS is no real place to make big announcements. Few Western press people go there, also because it is such a hassle to get there (first, getting into Russia, than actually getting to MAKS).
    Airbus has an A380 for flight display. Boeing has actually no aircraft in static or flying display.

  7. Re : Aspire Aviation’s piece

    From this wide-ranging review, I pick two numbers : the first A350-900 is said to be 3000 kgs overweight, the -800 5000kgs.

    No source is quoted for these numbers, so we have to suppose that they are insiders’ tips. Are there other market place rumours on this ?

    What surprises me is that the -800, which to the best of my knowledge does not exist yet, already is given an overweight tag. The numbers themselves are puzzling : how could a shrink be 5 000kgs overweight if the baseline aircraft is 3000 kgs ?

    What do you think of such assertions ?

  8. “Aspire Aviation takes a long look at Airbus”. When is Randy Tinseth going to take a long look at Airbus or John Leahy taking a long look at Boeing? Because all three are essentially the same, but Tinseth probably grasps the basic use of paragraphs a lot better

    • Bryan, when you can write in Chinese as a second language you have the right to rap the “basic use of paragraphs” a lot better. Daniel Tsang is a Hong Kong native. So back off.

      • I thought he was born, raised, living and working at the Boeing Building in Chicago’s North Riverside Plaza….
        Oh well, you learn something new every day.

  9. Talking about launch aid, give me tax cuts, infrastructure, patents and R&D financing over loans any day. It’s that repayable thing about loans, just hate it.

    • Didn’t Airbus also get all those things in addition to the launch aid, keesje?

      • Jack is that WTO Airbus got 16 Bill (loans) and Boeing just 5 Bill (taxgifts). So 90% of the press sees Airbus got more and the rest keeps quiet.

  10. It must be comforting to get sweetheart loans from the ultimate risk sharing partner, who is too big to fail, and who does not complain or demand repayment if the program is not financially successful.

    • You ignore that Airbus has so far paid back every single government loan they got, plus interest and royalties on every plane produced.
      Also, this is equally valid:
      “It must be comforting to get sweetheart tax breaks from the ultimate risk sharing partners, who are too big to fail, and who do not complain or demand tax repayment if the program is not financially successful.”
      Except of course a lot of the tax breaks are not repayable even if the programme is financially successful.

      • “You ignore that Airbus has so far paid back every single government loan they got, plus interest and royalties on every plane produced.”

        If that is true, how does Airbus make any money on airplanes they sell at discounted prices?

      • If that is true, how does Airbus make any money on airplanes they sell at discounted prices?

        How would you structure your prices, discounted or not, if you knew you had fixed costs of X (which include a sub-sum Y to your creditors) for every item you sell?

        • I would structure pricing so all vendors, parts suppliers, labor costs, infrastructure costs, testing, transportation, loans, royalties, etc. are fully covered with each and every airplane sold.

          Year after year, when you compare cash on hand between Airbus and Boeing, it shows Airbus always has less cash (if any) to work with. The most visible part of cash on hand allows Boeing to sell some airplane at below costs to preferred customers. At Airbus, it seems that all customers are preferred customers and get huge discount pricing on most airplanes sold. Airbus can afford to do this only with continuous government loans.

      • Giving a company tax breaks does not make the government a risk sharing partner. As I pointed out above, one cannot start a business endeavor with tax breaks, because those tax breaks only come into effect once a profit is made, land is purchased, or construction started. One needs start-up money. A risk sharing partner is one who provides a certain amount of start-up money.

        Look at the order of magnitude between the development cost and profit. Tax breaks are only a fraction of the profit.

      • In reply of KC’s comments, bassicly the picture painted in the comments is that Airbus is not a viable commercial company and the limited price premium that can be asked (as discounts are needed) indicate that their products can not be sold profitably. That image is pretty absurd

      • Year after year, when you compare cash on hand between Airbus and Boeing, it shows Airbus always has less cash (if any) to work with. The most visible part of cash on hand allows Boeing to sell some airplane at below costs to preferred customers. At Airbus, it seems that all customers are preferred customers and get huge discount pricing on most airplanes sold. Airbus can afford to do this only with continuous government loans.

        Firstly, I fail to understand your logic here. So you’re saying on the one hand that Airbus earns less while Boeing sells below cost – and on the other hand you say Airbus can only earn less because of government loans? Odd.
        By the way – one of the rather clear findings of the WTO ruling was that Airbus did not use any of the loans to lower their prices, i.e. the loans did not influence pricing between A and B.

  11. No matter if someone is from Hong Kong or whereever, but the article contains a number of quite suspicious numbers. Naming ones sources is unusual, and probably not what we want as internet readers. But the overweight figures strongly dispute the numbers I was told. It is difficult to know which number is compared to which specification.
    I fear that the person behind Aspire Aviation does not have full understanding of all the details of weight engineering, and aircraft design in general.

    The advantages of “right sizing” an aircraft shouldn’t be overstated. Yes, if I design an aircraft for 3500nm instead of 8000nm I will gain in fuel burn. Such difference would result in a single percentage advantage. If I design for 5000nm instead of 7500nm the advantage quickly vanishes to small percentage figure, if it is visible at all through the many other factors influencing fuel burn.

    The B787-10 is a double-stretched aircraft with the resulting benefits (usually low ratio of structural weight to number of seats). However, on the downside you have restricted field performance and more drag. The aircraft you choose depends on the specific mission profile. If I fly Hamburg (low and cold) to New York (low and not that warm), the “edged out” double-stretch is probably a good choice.

  12. Being American, I find the Airbus Euronumber style very confusing. I think NATO had the right idea in giving aircraft easy to identify nicknames. I propose the A320 and A380 be called ‘popcan’ and ‘milkjug’ for quicker recognition.

  13. kc135topboom

    You write : “Year after year, when you compare cash on hand between Airbus and Boeing, it shows Airbus always has less cash (if any) to work with”.

    This is an inaccurate statement. Airbus actually is awash in cash, notably from customer down payments on its huge backlog. If you consider EADS’ financial statements (the only publicly available relevant source of information), you will notice that the group actually has been steadily growing huge piles of cash, though there are fluctuations from one year to the next or within a given year (the situation at year end tends to be better than at the end of H1 because many sales are recorded in H2), You may have heard that financial analysts tend to keep an eye on cash burn, but this relates to project development, not to cash generation. Of course, Boeing probably has even more cash at hand, but this is not a key difference between the competitors.

    I suppose that what you actually intend to criticise is Airbus’ profitability, a very different matter. It has been low because the group took too long to cut excessive structural costs, and then was hit by cost overruns on troubled programs (A380, A400M). This is a fact. Airbus intends to improve profitability in the next few years, and we’ll see if they reach that goal. Recent improvements in key programs support this effort.

    I see however no basis to claim that Airbus has been recently discounting its products beyond industry practice. It is usual marketing spin to claim that your competitor can only win on price, by sacrificing his margins. This is only supported by conflicting and unreliable market rumours. You should shrug them off. Airlines would tell you that most of the time they drive both manufacturers into very large discounts.

    • According to publicly released investor reports, EADS/Airbus ended 2012 with E6 Hundred Million (coincidentally the same amount they want from the German Government) ‘cash on hand’. Of the E600 Million, at least E250 Million is to be spent on the A-380 wing rib feet cracking problem, which is currently being repaired (EASA approved the repair late 2012). Boeing, OTOH ended 2012 with some $6Billion ‘cash on hand’. This year they could spend some $600 Million on the B-787 grounding issue. That still leaves them with more than $5B USD.

      Now for 2013, Airbus and Boeing each have a major certification program to pay for, the A-350-900 and the B-787-9. Airbus has no money coming in for the A-350, except for order deposits. Boeing does have money coming in for deliveries of the B-787-8s. Yes, both are also delivering, and getting paid for all of their other airplanes and products.

  14. Can somebody please tell us how much percentage of EADS, oops sorry Airbus Group, belongs to French STATE, German STATE and Spanish STATE?
    It is a STATE OWNED industry. As such the states MUST have a role.

      • Do not forget some “institutional” shareholders that are partially owned by European states.
        It would be interesting to go one or two level deeper in the shareholding analysis especially on those “institutional investors”.

      • Location Investors % O/S Pos Val ($MM)
        Germany 68 17.14 134,874,615 7,487.66
        France 73 18.43 144,996,086 6,964.17
        US 80 13.39 105,337,010 5,226.09
        Spain 34 4.19 32,947,315 1,758.68
        England 48 4.10 32,237,606 1,494.21
        Russia 1 2.87 22,614,753 1,329.78
        NL 7 0.82 6,431,749 271.06
        Swiss 34 0.36 2,823,034 149.86
        Scotland 7 0.31 2,457,593 127.06
        Canada 18 0.29 2,317,400 103.75

      • Top 10 shareholders
        % O/S Country Investor Name
        11.92 France Government of France
        10.65 Germany German Government
        5.06 US Capital World Investors
        4.56 Germany BlackRock Asset Management Deutschland AG
        4.11 Spain Sociedad Estatal de Participaciones Industriales
        2.87 Russia Vnesheconombank
        1.98 France Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations
        1.96 France Amundi Asset Management
        1.54 US The Vanguard Group, Inc.
        1.52 US Viking Global Investors LP

      • Sorry for the messed up lay-out, but first post is a overview of nations with the largest number of investors in EADS, the second the top 10 investors.

        All (but the 3 goverment investors) are classified as asset management firms. It seems that the US also has a large stake in EADS 😉

      • Besides the Firms listed above that have an interest in EADS there are several Funds that have EADS in their portfolio. There are no big positions per fund. Therefore an overview per country:

        Location Investors % O/S
        US 442 10.56
        England 224 2.90
        Germany 343 2.63
        France 291 2.31
        Swiss 137 0.38
        Scotland 19 0.27
        Canada 44 0.25
        Lux 62 0.19
        NL 41 0.15
        Belgium 39 0.13

      • @V V:
        No, what Bob listed are exactly those institutional investors.
        Over 72% of EADS shares are free float, i.e. belong to investors that own less than 5% of shares. EADS even lists the additional 0.43% and 0.87% owned by treasuries and a foundation of Sepi/Sogepa, despite the fact that these are below the 5% ownership thresholds that has to be reported, and the 0.87% don’t have any voting rights.

    • Yes, you are right. They have as much a role as any minority shareholder has in any company.

  15. “You ignore that Airbus has so far paid back every single government loan they got, plus interest and royalties on every plane produced.”

    If that is true, how does Airbus make any money on airplanes they sell at discounted prices?

    Perhaps the error is in your assumption that Airbus sells their aircraft at such greatly reduced prices?

    • Second line above is a quote from KC135 Topboom, “If that is true, how does Airbus make any money on airplanes they sell at discounted prices?”

  16. Philidor :
    “From this wide-ranging review, I pick two numbers : the first A350-900 is said to be 3000 kgs overweight, the -800 5000kgs.
    No source is quoted for these numbers, so we have to suppose that they are insiders’ tips. Are there other market place rumours on this ?
    What surprises me is that the -800, which to the best of my knowledge does not exist yet, already is given an overweight tag. The numbers themselves are puzzling : how could a shrink be 5 000kgs overweight if the baseline aircraft is 3000 kgs ?
    What do you think of such assertions ?”

    One has to understand the nuances of Mr. Tsang. When he talks about Boeing, he always mentions his multiple sources. On the other hand, he does not seem to have very many sources at Airbus, not surprising when one sees the tack his articles tend to take. Hence he can then, at best, only mention a single source for most of his assertions concerning Airbus. If he makes no claim of sources from within the company, which is more often the case, one can safely assume he is using the same “credible” information sources that some here seem to like to use as well (speculation).

    • While the exact number of overweight kgs on the A350-900 could be speculation on the part of Mr. Tsang, the overweight issue itself is not, at least if Aviation Week is to be believed. I posted the link in my comment above.

      As far as the -800 goes, for the last 1.5 years I’ve heard rumors that it is more overweight than the -900. However, I have not seen this rumor confirmed by any credible source.

      • Mike, I was just trying to point out that I don’t believe Daniel Tsang got his numbers concerning the A350 weights from any Airbus sources.
        I don’t know of any aircraft program where there wasn’t some sort of weight issue at the beginning.

  17. Daniel Tsang is a motivated good writer. He could boost his business by being both critical and optimistic on all manufacturers. In the end nobody respects half truths. John Ostrower showed the way. Boeing quickly learned to take this blogger very seriously for naming a cat a cat and being unimpressed by VIP interviews and press pampering. And Flight / WSJ after them.

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