Tom Enders: Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders appeared recently at a Bernstein Research conference. A couple of highlights:
The A350 program is on track for certification and first delivery on the schedule set two years ago.We have not seen a commercial aircraft program stay this close to schedule during the last 20years, which Enders emphasized demonstrates how far the company has come in its product development processes since the A380. The challenges of the production ramp are still ahead, which is the most difficult part, with the simultaneous objectives of managing schedule and lowering recurring costs. While additional charges or schedule changes are acknowledged as a possibility, there is no change in the company’s outlook for the production ramp at this stage. Airbus expects A350 margins to ultimately be as good as on the company’s current mature programs. While development of a second stretch A350-1100 might be explored by engineers, management is not considering it at this stage. The focus remains on getting the A350-900 completed and development of the A350-1000.
After an extensive review, Airbus saw the A330neo as a necessary step. The A330neo launch decision required assessing the risk of cannibalization of the A350-900 in detail. Airbus was convinced that this would not be a major problem and that the two airplanes could be complementary. Realistically, the expectation is that the A330ceo rate will need to come down as the transition to the A330neo occurs in 2017-18. No rate has been set for the A330neo, but it could be in the 7-10/month range. One should not, however, necessarily expect 10/month, as this was the all time peak rate. As with most programs near the end of the line, the later A330ceo prices will likely be at a discount (just as Boeing expects discounts near the end of its 777-300ER line). The A330neo development is expected to be easier than for the A320neo, because it does not involve an entirely new engine. We have seen the nacelle (to be produced by Safran’s Aircelle) as the most difficult part of the timeline. Airbus has been assured by Safran, however, that the A330neo schedule should be met.
CEO’s departure at JetBlue
: The Street.com has a recap of the issues
that have led to the planned departure of David Barger, the CEO at Jet Blue. Expect more fees and more crowded airplanes. Greed prevails over passenger experience.
Al-Baker raps Al Jazeera
: Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al-Baker criticized its sibling (or cousin), Al Jazeera English, for its “documentary” on the Boeing 787. Flight Global has a recap here
Volcano photos: It’s not aviation but these photos of the recent volcanic eruption are incredible.
Also not aviation: Had Scotland voted for independence, would “Great Britain” have become “Mediocre Britain?” Credit to my daughter for this one.