Odds and Ends: Tom Enders at Bernstein; JetBlue’s CEO; Al-Baker on Al Jazeera; Volcano photos

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

29 Comments on “Odds and Ends: Tom Enders at Bernstein; JetBlue’s CEO; Al-Baker on Al Jazeera; Volcano photos

  1. I’d have expected that construct be named “Greater England” 😉

    Wondering how long the Welsh would have kept their feet still after a scottish secession.

  2. Scott, Great Britain is the island, it would be something of an engineering miracle if the Scots actually managed to detach themselves. Little (mediocre? I quite like it) Britain is over the channel (Brittany) where a load of Britons (Welsh, pretty much) legged it after their king, Vortigern, welshed on paying some Anglo Saxon mercenaries, and they helped themselves to the south east of the island.

    • My idea for the next try:
      The Scottish Channel!

      What about a Scottish Channel as a international water between far less United Kingdoms and Scottland?

      The UK could station their submarines inside the hills on the south side and also can reach the North Sea without crossing Scottish seas.

  3. The full name would be the Disunited Kingdom of a part of Great Britain and bit of Ireland, but since we (I am Scottish by the way) voted NO,it’s still whatever it is normally called.

    • In the debates there was a alot of reference to RUK, or the remainder UK, ie the state that continued on the possible exit of Scotland. People then started talking about Former UK. You can work out what that acronym looked like

      • we avoided the DUK (dis United Kingdom)
        or the FUK (former United Kingdom)
        Now, we are in the much better SUK (still United Kingdom)

  4. One of the things I wondered about, if it did become Mediocre Britain, was the flag. What would become of the flags of the commonwealth nations that feature it too? Australia, NZ etc…

    In the aviation world, would the BA livery be modified?

  5. The A350 my be on track for the schedule set two years ago, but it still experienced a one year delay, in spite of the leisurely seven year schedule originally planned.

    Remember Leahy’s comment, “I think we should all be shot for gross incompetence if we have another screw up in the A350 program. I’m sure we’ll be on target.”

    Well they weren’t.

    That said, Airbus did a much better job of managing the A350 program delay than they did on the A380, and certainly MUCH better than Boeing did on the 787. They managed PR, by being proactive, instead of reactive, set a realistic new schedule, and stuck to it.

    • ?mostly? better PR.

      Afaics Airbus heeded advice as layed down in “The Mythical Man-Month”.
      Fix problems early.
      Don’t try to fix “grown over night” issues by retargetting manpower on short notice.
      Be realistic in internal review.
      Nuture in house culture that provides an easy path for problems to be made visible to management and the complementary Oath of Fealty between management and workforce aspect: have management that is good in preemptive caretaking. don’t get pressured by external forces ( marketing, stockholders ) that have no understanding and different if not counter interests.

      If you get that right your PR effort will be reduced to fending off sniping from the competition. The need for strategic communications ( aka missdirection, lying ) wither away.

      • Nice words, but it doesn’t change the fact that they are still a year late with the A350.

        • Overall, yes – but Enders did explicitly say
          The A350 program is on track for certification and first delivery on the schedule set two years ago.
          Not very ambivalent, really.
          And as you said yourself – in terms of programme communications and managements a much better job than both Airbus and Boeing did on any other project they started after 2000.
          Keep in mind that besides the obvious examples of 787 and A380, we have in the past 14 years also seen derivative planes that were delivered a good two years after their originally proposed EIS date.

  6. … and would we have seen British Caledonian rise again? But on second thoughts… it operated mostly from Gatwick…. and would it still be called British (following Sausage Butty’s logic). As observed yesterday, we never forget you have a choice….

  7. It also seems to be that the 350-800 is unoficially officially cancelled now.
    No one is talking about it anymore (Enders) or even stating that it’s dead (Bregier).
    But still no official word from Airbus on this !

    • Wasn’t were a statement about the A330-800NEO to A350-800 at the launch press conference at Farnborough Air Show?

      The A350-800 just offers more range no airline really wants or does need at the moment. Even for Hawaiian the A330-800 is sufficient and far cheaper. Maybe the fuel price will double within the next 10 years then the A350-800 could be back on the table. First the production costs for the A350 had to come down to close the price gap between A330 and A350. At 1 or 2 A330 a month Airbus will close the FAL and switch costumers to A350s. We will see.

      I think the A350-800 is officially deferred.

  8. I believe he said the ” A350-800 DEVELOPMENT was cancelled.” So, not officially dead, but they don’t plan to do any more work (development) on it… Perhaps they will revisit after the 900 and 1000 are fully launched?

  9. Scott: Your daughter sounds alarmingly like my wife, (my reaction tends to be to put my head in my hands and shake it a lot , I like puns but those out of the blue questions like that just floor me).

    A350: Stay tuned, first up is the infamous Al Bakar and back in the day you did not want to start your season against Pittsburg as you were guaranteed a smack down of awful proportions. He will not let any spot of dust go by.

    In all seriousness, there have been massive changes in components (or will be after hull 17). I think the production ramp up will be delayed significantly as they have to re-learn the structure again.

    there is also risk in issues like the wing side joint on the 787. I am not crying doom and gloom, just that there are pot holes in all these programs and I do not expect the A350 to be free of those.

    787: I thought Al Bakars response was good, and personally I expect the 787 is generally safe (keeping in mind that the massive electrical fault going into San Antoniou was far worse than Boeing wanted to admit, in service that could have lost an aircraft in a non airfield crash landing. The A350 can have similar issues and not all of those show up in the tests (A380 wing rib and the RR engines)

    Mfgs since time in memorial have done stupid things and Boeing management would be a poster child for creating that possibility.

    • With all due respect, just because Boeing made an absolute mess of the wing to fuselage root joint does not mean the A350 will follow suit. The A350 has already proven this by passing the ULT wing structural test first go.

  10. Jet Blue

    Jet Blue sounds like the attacks on Costco some years back.

    In the old days if you did not like a company you did not buy the stock.

    Now you destroy the management and company. Me thinks we need far more regulation on the financial sector not less.

    • I agree. Wall street only wants to kill customer service, extract the most money out of consumers’ pockets, and leave the rest for dead. They truly will be undoi g of our society if they keep this up.

      Its a. Wonder to me some airlines can cotinue to exist, what with the exorbitant fees they charge.

      • By providing decent experience Jet Blue are a niche, and they are showing decent growth, possibly due to improving US economy. More money=less desire to suffer. Jumping into the cutthroat world of LCCs and Legacies would probably kill it.

  11. Make no mistake Scotland & the Scottish have contributed immensely to our UK culture. The mediocre comment is apt but perhaps not it the manner described, with a population of only five million & an economy supported by England the risk was Scotland would have become mediocre. Thankfully the union survives.

    A350 personally I can’t recall working on such a well structured programme, partner relationships & understanding has been brilliant, all who I have exposure to have excelled.

    Reflecting on Airbus’s current supplier relationships, we find it hard to come to terms with Boeings apparent inability to control its critical third party suppliers. The industry knows the underlining reasons for most failures, which is both communication & cultural.

      • Mild Britain? Moderate? hmmm Common?

        Regardless of history, I think both sides are better off together than separate.

  12. Airbus has succeeded in getting airlines off the A350-800 onto the A330 NEO and A350-900. It took them years.

    Now, anyone who believes the 777-8i as specified will enter service in 7 years, raise your hand.. A 777-9i with a little less cargo flies as far..

    • A350: Yes Airbus has been pushing buyers into the A350-900 for years successfully before the A330-NEO which killed off the last few. Didn’t matter as the A350-800 was not going to happen any more than the 787-3.

      777- i : No such designation unless you are trying to separate the -8 and -9 passenger from the freighter. Freighter simply will have an F on it (so far). Only the 747 went with the i and that was I.

      I am neutral on the program achieving its launch goals, no data one way or the other. It will be the first major test of the McNenearny disruption of the engineers.

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