Pontifications: Going where the excitement is

By Scott Hamilton

July 3, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Friday’s news leak to Reuters that Airbus CEO Tom Enders will assume direct control over commercial airplane sales is but the latest in a nine-month-long set of changes not just at Airbus but also at Boeing.


At Airbus, Marwan Lahoud, Charles Champion, John Leahy, Barry Eccleston are retiring or have already left.

Lahoud was head of product strategy. Champion had future airplane programs. Leahy, of course, is “super salesman.” Leahy leaves this fall. Eccleston is president of Airbus Americas. He retires in February.

Other executives, such as Tom Williams and Didier Evrard, are nearing retirement age.


At Boeing, Scott Fancher’s retirement was announced last week. Ray Conner was replaced by Kevin McAllister last year and retired, after a transition, at the Paris Air Show.

John Wojick, who headed up sales under Conner, retired last year.

Pat Shanahan, who was an executive at Boeing Commercial Airplanes and moved to Chicago HQ, is leaving, following his nomination to be Deputy Secretary of Defense.

I expect more departures at Boeing.

Boeing’s momentum

Boeing’s transition has been quicker and effective sooner than some of the changes at Airbus. This gives Boeing a momentum that has been lost at Airbus.

Boeing tantalized by talking about a “hybrid” fuselage for the forthcoming 797, but only in the broadest and most nebulous terms. (Not that we all didn’t know Boeing was talking about an ovoid composite fuselage.)


On the other hand, Reuters’ Tim Hepher asked Airbus’ Leahy at the closing day press conference if Airbus has lost its “mojo,” following a disappointing sales showing at the Air Show. Leahy, to no surprise, denied this was the case—but Hepher’s impertinent question neatly summed up the thoughts of the reporters in the room.

While Boeing basked in the glory of greater than expected orders and commitments for the 737 MAX 10, Airbus had to be content with announcing a study of the A380, called the Plus; it wasn’t even a program launch.

No wonder Hepher asked the question.

The next few years

The next couple of years are going to be critical at both companies. Both, at the Paris Air Show, made quite public displays of planning for the digital age, a transition that will neither be quick nor easy.

Boeing is widely expected to launch the 797 Middle of the Market airplane next year. Airbus’ current response is to say it has the market covered with the A321neo/LR and the A330-800—a response that is generally met with skepticism and yawns among customers and industry observers.

This is not to say Airbus doesn’t have studies underway that cover the MOM sector, because it does. But the current rhetoric is hardly reassuring.

Excitement vs…Not

Trudging back and forth between the Airbus and Boeing chalets, which are not too far apart at Le Bourget, you got the feeling of excitement at the Boeing chalet and trying to gin up excitement at Airbus.

I spent most of my time at Boeing.

So did most of the other reporters.

This pretty much tells the story for the balance of this year. We’ll see what happens next year.


98 Comments on “Pontifications: Going where the excitement is

  1. Reading this it appears that journalists are every bit as entranced with “ooohh, shiny” as the rest of us!

    But, in the cold light of day, if the “ooohh shiny” doesn’t beat the numbers of the established alternative…

    • The “established alternative” lacks the range of the “ooohh shiny.”

      • The ooh shiny here is the max -10.

        The MoM is little more than rumour and vague powerpoint slide right now.
        (The Powerpoint Rangers at Lockheed would be proud of Boeing’s antics.)

      • I don’t think anyone takes talk of the A321NEO/LR as the “definitive 757 replacement” seriously. No A320 derivative or 737 derivative can replace the 757. Period.

        Which is why everyone was apparently excited at the Boeing side. A real 757 replacement in the wings? Sign ’em up.

        • ” No A320 derivative or 737 derivative can replace the 757. Period.”

          you’d have to hack holes in either models tanks and stick artificial iceshapes to their wings to match 757 inefficiencies.

          Wagging dogs here. The 757 use case stems from airlines having the type on their hands from way back when .. . Not the other way round.

          • I have a soft spot for the 757, not for economic reasons, its just a real tough boy.

            Except all the weight and wing design down sides the generation of engines available to it were really thirsty.

          • On the other side hope Airbus don’t think a possible A322 could be a Mom.

            1)A322, 220 seats? 2 aisle seats per row, 2 middle seat, 220 pax per aisle,
            2)”B797-8″, 240 seats? 4 aisle seats per row, 1 middle seat, 120 pax per aisle.

          • But at what cost? If the 797 costs 50% more than an A322, and uses more fuel per seat (larger wetted area for the same seat count), will the airlines care enough about middle seats?

          • These are valid points, but how far can you stretch the single aisle.

            The 757-200 was good for its time, verging on being to long, the 757-300 to far a stretch.

            Believe the 321 could be stretched another 4m or so and that’s it?

            Airlines may not have pax comfort high on their priority list but when aircraft losing time on the ground due to boarding and deplaning times they will.

            If you can get a ticket for the same price between X and Y flying in a 3-3 or 2-3-2, which one will it be?

            Don’t think the seat mile cost of say a 240 seat MoM will be much higher (if) than that of a 220 seat A322. The price difference, only time will tell.

          • When the A320 family was incepted in the mid ’80-ties, the A322 (member nº 5 of the family) was conceived from the start as the maximum maximorum stretch beyond A321, of + 10 frames/+3 AKH/+210″ which gives a rotation angle at take-off of exactly 10º (where A321 has 11.3º and the DC-8-63 had 8.3º) routinely trading additional cabin capacity against decremented range … but for MOM we are talking about having the cake and eating it, the idea being to increase the capacity AND extending the range, a different ballpark altogether and not any routine stretch approach. Airbus would have launched the A322 since long if the airlines’ shopping list for the MOM was relaxing the range somewhat below the A321LR. However, a minimum change consensus could be reached if the A322 powerplants were delivering a TSFC of, say, -20 % below sister A321 NEO ? But who has those engines and for when ?

          • Thanks for the info. Reading through the lines an A322 will run into rotation angle problems? Don’t know the ground clearance of the 81″ inch fanned PW1100G’s?

            So an A322 will require a new wing, landing gear changes/upgrades and potentially engine type changes (ultra-fan), fan diameter?

            End of the day not a straight stretch.

          • Funny how you come to those conclusions when FT
            made a positive statement re the issues.

            If a final stretch to A322 was scoped into the initial design from the 80ties rotation limits seem to be no obstacle ..

            Fan diameter is irrelevant for rotation issues as the engines nacelles are mostly in front of the MLG.

          • Was just wondering how much fan diamtetre increase the 320/1’s current set-up (static/landing engine ground clearance) can take before they run into the 737MAX “problem”.

            On rotation angle how much stretch can the the 350-1000 take before that’s an issue?

            At least some good (but also bad) news on the Airbus order front at Berlin. Airbus priority one at this stage must be sorting out its production line.

          • @ Anton : “Reading through the lines an A322 will run into rotation angle problems ?”

            If the MOM market demands a heavier fuselage (from the stretch) AND more fuel for better range, plus on the payload side additional three AKH and more pax on top, the demand for higher MTOW multiplies quadrifold. Only a significantly better TSFC can save the day if casting the A322 with mere wing tweaks from A321. With an allowed rotation angle of 10.0º the issue is what kind of lift can you expect, or we’ll need some very innovative active aerodynamic PIPs, or why not simply a new wing altogether … The requirement will be for MTOW beyond 104 metric tonnes, possibly all the way to 107 m.t. for the A322, stressing the MLG by the way … except if you have some radically better engines fitted, saving the day reverting to a minimal change design vs A321 ? These are the A322 dilemma, a storm in a glass.

            Cheers for the A322 !

          • Thanks, my take will be a new CFRP wing for the current fuselage A321 and see how much fuel you can add without AUX tanks. Obvious under carriage upgrades and higher thrust “current NEO” engines for increased MTOW.

            Hopefully that will bring you near a 4800Nm “effective” range with all contingencies build in and ~180 pax (2 class) for those that want it and have improved performance for shorter haul routes.

            Keesje called it the A321XR if I am correct?

            Beyond that it could become expensive to develop and outside the scope of the single aisle and what airlines want?

          • @ Anton : my own take from what has been said hereinabove about the infamed “757 syndrome” (a string of ground rotation plus in-flight service inefficiencies) that appears when you’re cramming single aisle 3+3 cabins with beyond 35 rows = 210 pax is that time has come to redo the cabin outfitting DIFFERENTLY, converting the yield equation allowing for better APEX and Product Differetiation on the revenue side plus turn-around excellence on the cost side, going H21QR or better, H22QR with 1+2+1 in Premium and 1+3+1 in Economy Plus and in plain Y-class. Relaxing the pressure on payload will let us do the MOM trick with minimum aerodynamic changes ?!

          • End of the day its is what airlines want and what they prepared to pay for it and where OEM’s think they can make money.

  2. Interesting exercise in psychology…

    Pundits (in this blog) all told us ths 737-10 is a dud. Bad. Worse thing ever for Boeing. Oopps… Boeing ‘sells’ +100/200 more than anticipated at the show (hum… ‘converts’ really). Complete mood swing. Now the A321n is the dud, will go no where, Airbus is late, doom….gloom… and the 797 is coming -> end of the (A) world. ok, ok, am pushing it a bit.

    All reporters flock to new shinny thingy. That’s the nature of the daily game.
    Remind us of our beloved Twitter hero.

    Meantime, the production lines hum. That’s where the real, real game is.
    No matter how bad of a backlog beating (pick your favorite side) one side got.
    And there, the europeans have a problem. They do not know as well how to scale as fast (perhaps they are more structurally constrained than not ‘knowing’… geography as in space/social barriers). Steady perhaps but unexciting. Can’t ‘surge’.

    Interesting exercising times indeed 🙂

    • Europeans are surging a lot faster than North American engine manufacturers. Airbus are now the doomed one’s. I would have hung around the Airbus stand, they are keeping their plans remarkably quiet or they don’t have any plans.

  3. Congrats to Boeing for playing a poor hand well. Instead of getting tied up in trying to match or supersede the A321, they kept a cool head regarding the MAX 10 and were rewarded with orders and conversions in a number no one expected. I am very curious about their next move, the MoM.

    • Well I would call the -10 a desperation move that happened to work

      Hail Mary is not the way to win football games.

      Good solid game palnning, execution and crush em.

  4. a bit of an end of an era for the old guard at Airbus. They are losing a lot of the personalities from the freewheeling times in the 90s and 00s when Airbus could do no wrong. I am not Surprised Tom Enders is taking on the tricky job of sales as there seems to be a gaping hole in that area. So less flamboyance and more suits from now on. Oh and allegedly they now don’t have any more insider dealers in their midst……

  5. The turning point for me was the B787 program coming out of the doldrums and Airbus going with 330Neo.

    Airlines could be interested in the MAX10 because they can look forward to the “797” as part of a growing Boeing fleet.

    If Airbus promoted a MoM and Boeing not the “797” things could have been looking very different.

    Now Airbus customers must be excited by (rumored only) band-aid options of a stretched 321+ with X-number of AUX tanks and an 330 “Lite” as well as an A380 that is in ICU.

    The 350 is a glimmer of hope but deferrals and production problems are taking the shine off.

    • Whilst the 787 programme is now running smoothly, it’s doubtful that Boeing will make any money on the deal.

      The A330neo is almost a no-brainer – why not do it as it is costing very little and eeks out a few more sales from a venerable and highly successful model. Calling A380 “ahead of its time” is being generous, but there are some silver linings to that cloud; it’s up-datable, and if demand ever picks up (granted, it’s a big “if”) Boeing has nothing on the books to compete.

      737-10 has attracted some orders and a lot of conversions, but is simply the latest of many sticking plasters. Airbus haven’t yet had even think about sticking plasters for the A32x family (new engines are a genuine upgrade, not a desperate measure; there’s plenty of scope to stretch it). And with at least some passengers making it clear that the extra width of an A32x is a reason to fly, Airlines torn between the competing products are likely to choose the more comfortable option, if the price is acceptable.

      As for 797 – it doesn’t exist yet, and to be radically different to a stretched A321neo it’d need to be twin aisle which then has questionable economy. 797 might be single aisle made from carbon fibre, but then Airbus seem perfectly capable of making good airframes from CF too.

      A350 has had some teething problems ramping up production, but otherwise is looking like a wonder aircraft capable of scaling all the way from something the size of 787 up to a hypothetical -1100 which would seriously threaten the 777-9; the -1000 is already looking like it’s done for the 777-8 in terms of performance…

      Boeing are perfectly capable of matching Airbus. They need to copy Airbus’s fuselage diameters (they’re always a little wider) and undercarriage leg lengths (taller, especially A320), and then they’ll have competitive models. They need to stop designing and building in Aluminium, and do their next model in CF. I hope they do; they got caught out by the expense of the 787, and they need to get their mojo back.

      • They don’t need to copy Airbus’s fuselage diameters… they need to outdo them buy a couple of inches or two. Airbus has milked that extra inch of armrest to death.
        Add enough inches to make it more comfortable for economy but not so many inches airlines can squeeze in an extra seat! I’m dreaming I know…

        • I think it’s an incredibly nuanced decision. AFAIK the 787 was meant to be 8 across, but there’s just room if you squeeze everyone up together to get 9 across. Result? Most airlines want 9 across, and it’s horrible.

          The A350 is only 6inches wider, a different cross section shape, and is a comfortable 9. Beat that by another 6 inches and the airlines would want 10 across.

  6. Interesting point from “ivorycoast”. I was thinking the same about how the whole situation between the two big OEMs seems to have changed at the Paris Air Show.

    As for the ” shiny new thingy”, metaphor, I wouldn’t exactly call the Max 10 shiny. Time will tell if the initial big splash of orders and conversions is followed up by more orders. Hats off to Boeing, they did some good pre-work for the air show to get some positive headlines. They have always been better than Airbus at that sort of thing.

    I am getting a sense of deja vu here. Didn’t we go through something similar during the initial 787/A350 days back in 2004 where Boeing was touting all the great new architecture of the 787 and Airbus was trying to keep as much as they could from the A330 and develop the rest as the A350.

    I wonder if Boeing will manage to oversee and execute the 797 program better than the 787 and I wonder if Airbus will manage to judge the market correctly and come up with an appropriate design on the first go around this time.

    • The 330Neo is getting tagged more and more as a “dog”, although that, even a photo of it with new engines mounted at PAS could have made some difference?

      • “dog”

        yes. as always lots of words leveraged to elevate lesser information to “dam break, sky is falling” levels.

        following some comments Boeing must have sold about as many 737-MAX10 over night as Airbus sold since offering the A321NEO .
        On first blush the -10 meets up better with customer demand than the rather unloved -9 if conversions are an indication.

        • Think the hype around the 797 is changing perceptions of Boeing while the (apparent) lack of new things on the horizon from Airbus the opposite.

          The A350 was launched during July 2006 while the 320/1NEO and 330NEO’s are not groundbreaking stuff from Airbus but weighing heavily on engine improvements. Also, the PW1100G’s and RR T7000’s are not enjoying the smoothest of runs in their respective programs.

          • The T7000 as a direct T1000TEN derivative shows all the delays the TEN has incurred.

            Thus your attribution lacks a bit of intellectual cleanliness 😉

            GTF issues seem to have had their “Bergfest” in 2017Q1.
            Been rather quiet on the hard issues front lately.

          • The T7000 issues does not come at a good time for a “fragile” 330Neo program.

            Always easy to throw stones if you sit on the sideline, RR should have learned a lesson from the TEN and/or Airbus should have anticipated similar problems?

          • The T7000 reflects the TEN delays.
            It does not have its “own” delays.

            Nobody laments the TEN delays on the 787.

            you wallop in partisan subjectivity here 🙂

          • Current customers could think of cancelling orders on an already thin order book, potential new customers like Air Malaysia could lose interest?

            Also, the 787 did not have the TEN as only engine option.

          • The 10 made it on time for the 787 and did not make it on time for the A330?

            Hmmm, talk about intellectual dishonesty.

            The solution is called parallel program running and solve both at the same time.

    • @ Aero Ninja

      I am inclined to agree with you regarding the more publicity hungry nature of Boeing but they seem to have got PAS perfectly managed in terms of presentation, sales and hype for the future. Almost Leahy-sequel….

      It almost seemed to be as though Airbus didn’t really have an interest in the sales war. Perhaps, a big stretch of credulity possibly, Airbus are more focused on getting frames out of the door at significantly lower cost given they have 5++ years of production already sold. The logic being that prices and revenues are essentially fixed and any profit enhancement comes from cost cutting and efficiency gains.

      I am sort of expecting the R&D side of Airbus to force a new development of something soon, A322, NMA competitor, A380neo, etc etc as otherwise how will they justify their being.

      • Airbus no interesting in a sales war.

        The Airbus we know and love that suddenly wins the order war at the end of the year from orders that are not firm.

        Tell me it aint so Joe.

  7. If Tom Enders takes over sales, maybe he will have less time to gut the rest of Airbus in the interest of France. Yes, he might have eliminated the national bickering, at least publicly, and has in effect developed a French aerospace company with subsidiaries in other European countries.

    At least, that is my opinion.

  8. I suspect behind closed doors Champagne bottles were popping at Airbus when Boeing committed to the 737-10.

    A me-too variant -> no NSA for years to come. 60/40 Secured for at least 5 extra years.

    Boeing managed to keep United on board with this MAX -10, but AA and Delta are becoming large A321 operators replacing MD’s, 737s, 757s, 767s.

    The Asian and European majors already had switched. Jetblue, Spirit, Frontier, Virgin/Alaska are A321 too. That will probably be the status quo for years to come.

    A has 1500 A321s delivered, ~2500 in the backlog. Let Boeing have a few hundred and keep the 737 family proposition alive.

    Please tell where I’m incorrect here.

    • “Please tell where I’m incorrect here.”

      I would love to tell you that you are incorrect keesje, but I can’t! 😉

      • Well you can call it a glass half empty.

        On the other hyand Boeing was being beaten bloody with no answer.

        Now I have no issue with saying the -10 is not an A321.

        But oddly, its enough of an answer to where the Dutch Boy can hold the dike with a single finger.

        What it looks to me like is its not the range its the passenger numbers and you have to ask how many single aisles range out?

        So while Boeing has not gone beyond the A321, merly closer, its enough to hold that end.

        In the meantime, behind that jabbing left there is a wicked right coming with the 797.

        And throw in the engine wars and its going to be the spotlight for the next 7 years. Hard to not enjoy the publicity.

        Boeing does it all wrong and comes out fine in the end, go figure. Its enough to make you want to do decisions by Ouija Board.

    • Hi Keesje, long time, not want to say you incorrect, but…. Boeing is gaining technology and manufacturing experience, Airbus popping champagne and living in their own bubble?

      Maybe 60:40 for the 32X vs 737, not a walk over. 787 vs 330?

      What will Airbus have in 10-15 odd years from now? And Boeing;
      1)787 (Ultra-fan?),

      Delta seems to be ordering 321Ceo’s not Neo’s. Why, they eventually want 797’s?!

      • Delta is ordering A321ceos because there are slots for quick delivery, they have a large fleet of 757 types, and they need more capacity not less as they retire the oldest ones

        • That’s very sensible, but will this then give them the capacity and time to wait for the 797 instead of ordering NEO’s.

    • If Boeing builds an smaller B797 variant of ~45 – 48m long it will have a 2 class seat capacity of ~200 – 230 I estimate?

      It could be have use for longer haul thin routes to single class high densities seating layouts for LCC’s.

      This will indeed reduce the requirement for Boeing to build an NSA in the near future, the MAX8 can hold it own in its class and the smaller 797 covering the larger single aisle requirement.

    • Hello Keesje,

      I think that the bright future that you are suggesting for the A321 at Alaska airline might be incorrect. What I think about the A321 vs the 737 at Alaska airlines has exactly zero influence on what Alaska Airlines will do; however, I believe that what the CEO of Alaska Air Group thinks on this issue will have a major influence, and according to the article at the link below, the Alaska CEO is significantly less confident about the future of the A321 at Alaska Airlines than you are.


      A quote from the article at the above link.

      “Alaska Airlines will likely shed the Airbus jets it inherited in its takeover of Virgin America and slowly replace them with Boeing aircraft, Alaska Air Group CEO Brad Tilden said Tuesday.

      “My dad was a 32-year Boeing guy,” Tilden told a Seattle business audience at a breakfast organized by the Puget Sound Business Journal. “This company could not be more in love with Boeing, or loyal to Boeing.”

      “We actually just need to get this worked out with Boeing because we have 63 – growing to 73 – Airbus airplanes and they’ll likely be in the fleet for some number of years,” Tilden continued. “If I were to guess, they won’t be in the fleet permanently.”

      • {{ Tilden’s quip }}

        I’d interpret that as sucking up to the neighbour: “Make America Great Again.”

  9. In this industry, we all love new programs. New technology, new business opportunities, new routes. It’s the energy that feeds our passion, and the heart and soul of the industry.

    Ultimately, the competition makes us all better.

    • Very true. If it was not for Airbus, where would Boeing aircraft have been?

      Maybe no 777, 787’s or MoM?

      • perhaps without Airbus, the McBoeing debacle would not have happened (as McD may have remained the single major competitor) and Boeing would still be run by people who value aircraft and engineering over quarterly stock price.

  10. I think there is quite a bit of momentum exactly on the production side of narrow bodies at Airbus.
    Airbus delivered 545 narrow bodies in 2016, while having about 25 neo “gliders”standing around at the end of the year. That is an effective 47.5 frames a month production rate for all A320 family FAL combined. So Airbus is ahead of Boeing with increasing productions of narrow bodies.
    This year Mobile will reach 4 frames a month and the fourth line in XFW is starting up this month. So Airbus is in the progress to move to 60 frames a month in 2019, while being above 50 frames a month end of this year.

  11. “Pat Shanahan, who was an executive at Boeing Commercial Airplanes and moved to Chicago HQ, is leaving, following his nomination to be Deputy Secretary of Defense.”

    There is a sense of déjà vu here, and last time it wasn’t pretty! 😉

  12. I remember the big days when Boeing launched the B7E7. In those times, the final victory of Boeing over Airbus was set. Sales reaching 800 aircraft in no time, and anyone who doubted the infinite wisdom of Boeing decision makes was titled an idiot.
    What happenend then?
    The A380 delays and hick-ups appeared small and cute compared to the 3-year desaster unfolding at Boeing (just regarding first flight). Over the years we learned, that pretty much any aspect of the B787 was rotten. The program hasn’t earned a Cent since, at least has become cash-positive (unfortunately, due to program accounting, the cash it generates has already been spent).
    So, from what should we rate the healthiness or “momentum” of an aircraft manufacturer?
    – airshow appearance
    – announced LOI, MoUs, etc pp
    – actual orderbook
    – deliveries
    – balance sheet
    – quality of programs
    – quality of announced programs
    I think a mixture of all is needed. Hardest is executing a commercial program and staying in viewing distance of the budget. Airbus has delivered two rather convincing examples lately:
    A350: mainly on time, no major hick-ups, supply-chain issues
    A320neo: only a mod, but large impact, supply-chain issues
    Boeing has delivered B737max, also well executed.
    The next test will be the B777X. More or less a new program.

    The capability of an aircraft manufacturer is like a huge spinning wheel: it doesn’t loose momentum so quickly, and neither gains it quickly. At this point I would see more momentum in the Airbus wheel (orderbook, program line-up, recent program execution). But I would really like to see different opinions.

    • Bad idea to mention the A380 and 787 in the same post, and calling one a three year disaster while ignoring the 17-year disaster that is the A380.

      How many cents has the A380 earned? How much of the $25 billion in development costs will Airbus recover? For all it’s problems, the 787 will come a lot closer to profitability, than the A380 ever will.

      • No, those are different types of disasters.

        The A380 was more like the Titanic boiling along in a known icing area.

        The 787 was more like the decision not to defend the Ardennes in WWII.

      • @ Rick

        But the A380’s time is yet to come…….

        Okay I tried to be convincing but even JL is unlikely to be convinced any more

      • Going by the 17year metric ( full project runtime), you seem to use, the 787 is a 27 year ongoing desaster, still counting.
        Without massive tax gifts and other tidbits from a wide range of nations Boeing would have gone broke already.
        A snowflakes change in hell to actually recoup the “programme”commanded profits.
        “Objective comparison”. Didn’t they teach that in school back then?

        • Clinically that’s correct but the 787 is causing big damage to Airbus. How you quantify that from a Boeing perspective?

          • What damage? Qualify and quantify please!

            currently whatever happens elsewhere does not
            solidify onto the Boeing bottom line.
            I.e. deferred cost does not shrink adequately.

          • Hi Uwe, by taking away sales away from especially the A330 who’s production line future does not look rosy at this stage.

            If AirAsiaX financials takes a wobble and Delta don’t take (all) the 25 NEO’s things will not be great for the program.

            The Air Malaysia, Thai Air and Egypt Air orders for new aircraft could be pivot points for the 330NEO?

          • I also don’t see any evidence whatsoever of “big damage”.

            Just because Dreamliner fanboys kept saying it a decade ago doesn’t reflect a reality where A330ceo/neo sales have gone gangbusters in the meantime…

    • “But I would really like to see different opinions.”

      Well, you won’t see it here. This is a remarkably lucid post and I greatly enjoyed reading it.

  13. “Boeing’s transition has been quicker and effective sooner than some of the changes at Airbus. This gives Boeing a momentum that has been lost at Airbus.”

    This is fantastic news: Boeing is great again! 🙂

  14. Fabrice Brégier remains virtuously silent these days. Enders speaks up for himself and the Media are speaking up for Leahy. I can hear bruised knuckles from behind the curtain … it is high time aircraft (those fantastic money spinning machines) are sold for what they’re worth to airlines and not given away to make financial tycoons even richer by the billions. The added value of commercial aircraft need to be split as and where belongs : (a) shareholders; (b) Tax Authorities; (c) employees as regular salaries and (d) employees as participation in the fruit of entreprise … lately there hasn’t been much left over to be shared between categories a, b or d ?! Maybe the purpose of Enders is to set back the clocks to GMT + 1h as far as big deal discounting is concerned. Lately we’ve been celebrating Xmas all year around ? What for ?

  15. One thing doesn’t seem to make sense to me. Boeing has announcements regarding engineering layoffs, which it can do, while Airbus can’t and doesn’t have any engineering layoffs. (Assigning 30 engineers for 3 years to Oracle doesn’t really count for much ! – and I suspect they are all coming back now)

    But Boeing is in the midst of the 777X program and is apparently launching another new product.

    Airbus is winding down development of A350 and A330neo, seems happy with A32xneo, and only talks about the possibility of a minor mod to A380

    What are all the Airbus engineers going to be doing ?

  16. Good question would be, are the engineers multi discipline where they take it form start of finish?

    Or, are there the preliminary layout engineers, the design engineers that work out the details and then the industrial engineers that get it into production?

  17. To me you still have to ask, was Boeing just lucky (which I think they were)

    There is still the bloodletting of having states war with each other, them not paying taxes and their accounting system.

    Airbus did not react well to the 787 and it was only Boeing management screw ups that let that chance slip away (snatching defeat from he jaws of victory)

    And Airbus lesson on the A380 should have been, you had a good product line going, you don’t have to match them, just beat them where you are.

    And you see Boeing laying engineers off when things are starting to ramp up and you have to wonder, give up some stock buy backs to keep a team together, would that be so much?

    • You guys need to stop lying. I want to say this up front. I am a share holder in BOEING and EADSY. From launch to entry into service the 787 beat the A350 by 7 months. A350 was 19 months late from the original entry into service. BA problem was promising 5 years into service with all the new tech and green production system. Just ask MR Scott for the truth. You may be a fan of one manufactural but the truth do not change. Boeing is much better in production and Airbus was much better in sales during Mr Leahy tenured. Go back and check the facts.

      • I would rather invest in companies supplying snacks to LCC’s?

      • @Daveo

        I wouldn’t compare the two programmes too closely. Cost B787 $30bn+ , A350 at $14bn. At first delivery B787 grossly overweight and under performance targets, weight not hit until ln114. A350 very near weight at ln6, performance superior.

        Terrible teens, fires, windscreens, lots of museum pieces as no other use, B788 design too costly to build with rework. They do not compare. A350 will make proper money for Airbus whilst B787 has Boeing focusing on trying to breakeven around 2030.

        If I had the choice of stop and mend or produce and be damned I think I know what I would have done….

        • To be extremely frank my take as a complete outsider, but having been around in corporate business more than a bit, is that Airbus is working to maximize their book value with low debt (capex) and secured cash flow to optimise share value.

          Why, working on a merger and/or sell out of the commercial division in 5 odd years from now?

      • ” From launch to entry into service the 787 beat the A350 by 7 months.”

        Well lets look at the 787 delays launch April 2004, FF was supposed to be late 2007 ( rollout was July 2007) actual FF was Dec 2009, nearly 2 years late.
        First delivery was originally set at an impossible Sept 2008, it was actually to ANA Sept 2011, 3 years late. [ This 3 yr delay from original is whitewashed out]
        But there was another 3 month period when all 787s were grounded – Jan-April 2013, the famous burning batteries

        Those are the numbers daveo doesnt talk about
        -“By comparison, the 777 took two months to go from roll out to first flight; the A380 took three and a half months and the Boeing 787 took nearly two and a half years.”- Airways mag
        A350 from roll out to first flight ? May 2013 to June 2013 ( rollout was with engines and painted) first delivery was Dec 2014
        The normal time for a complete new airliner is 2-4 months, one airliner took 30 months.
        One airliner from rollout to first delivery took 20 months ( A350), another took 30 months (787)

        Yes Airbus had an extra 2 years to redesign for the XWB version and they were optimistic they could keep to original delivery dates, but that didnt occur. The redesign was fundamental changes , not a fix up of major design mistakes. ( no doubt they have made some)

  18. “Airbus did not react well to the 787.”

    No they didn’t, but they reacted well to the critics though. And after going back to the drawing board they came out with a masterpiece.

    Boeing also reacted well the the 737-9 critics but I wound’t exactly call the 737-10 a masterpiece. The 737 can get all the facelifts it wants that won’t make it any younger. And we may soon have to say the same thing for the 777.

    Ironically the only airplane that makes sense in Boeing’s portfolio is the 787. But it’s not doing what it was intended for: to be profitable for Boeing.

    But a great opportunity is now offered to Boeing, because Airbus is doing so well right now that there is a great danger they will fall asleep, just like Boeing did after the 747’s success.

    • The 350 is a “masterpiece” yet still is being outsold by the 787…

      • I am sorry, I was not aware of this, because no American Boeing supporter has EVER mentioned this before.

        Happy 4th of July! 🙂

        Make Boeing Great Again!

  19. The whole post doesn’t make much sense.

    Okay, the journos were more excited at Boeing, what exactly were they excited about? As you didn’t say

    Was it the launch of another ‘me too’ patchjob plane in the -10? Or the 100s of orders of which like 40% were conversions? I’d have understood if Boeing were drowning in orders for the 787, 777X or 747-8 at the show which would have been truly exciting, but the pinnacle of their show was a plane which could only match its competition through Boeing’s (and sometimes Airbus’) fudging of numbers.

    The MOM bit is silly too as we only know a bit more about Boeing’s plan than Airbus’ and that’s because only one side has had to constantly talk about the MOM and reassure their customers because their current offering is behind the competition, while the other side doesn’t have to move (yet), because its offering is beating the competition and dominating the market.

    If what is getting journos excited at Boeing is the -10, I think Airbus can relax.

  20. Sales? Airbus problems are Planning and Execution. A340.A380.A320Neo.A321Neo.A350 (delivered less then 100 in 3 years). Have I forgotten something?
    On the other hand they are excellent in Sales.

    • They ( Airbus ) also brought the NG production to a screeching halt from fumbling up the change over to lean production after having over shot the budget on the 777 by a factor of two some years before …


      Where Boeing really excels is endlessly overstating their case on the PR front and they are decidedly better at managing their stock value ( two things going hand in hand.).

  21. “Boeing tantalized by talking about a “hybrid” fuselage for the forthcoming 797, but only in the broadest and most nebulous terms. (Not that we all didn’t know Boeing was talking about an ovoid composite fuselage.)”

    Actually, when I hear hybrid in terms of aircraft structure I think of mixed composites and metals…

    • From a metallurgical point that’s the first thing that cross your mind.

      If the engines are fuselage incorporated (as some suggest) maybe something special is required in certain areas if the fuselage is CFRP?

    • planning vs reality:
      787 was announced as 4 years to EIS with time to spare.
      Humungous profits from day one.

      A350 as 7..7.5 years.
      ( and you have to look at the XWB timeline only IMHO.)

    • @ Daveo

      You seem to have a very selective way of ensuring your point is ‘correct’ but highly misleading. I really don’t see why you are getting so exercised about this. given that you decided not to answer my comment on the matter previously though I would share it again 🙂

      I wouldn’t compare the two programmes too closely. Cost B787 $30bn+ , A350 at $14bn. At first delivery B787 grossly overweight and under performance targets, weight not hit until ln114. A350 very near weight at ln6, performance superior.

      Terrible teens, fires, windscreens, lots of museum pieces as no other use, B788 design too costly to build with rework. They do not compare. A350 will make proper money for Airbus whilst B787 has Boeing focusing on trying to breakeven around 2030.

      If I had the choice of stop and mend or produce and be damned I think I know what I would have done….

      • Somewhere the question was raised during the last 12hours what all Airbus engineers are going to do?

        The 35K basically done as is the 320/1Neos, the Ulr cant use many resources as is the 330Neo’s, cant also be the 380 wing lets.

        If Airbus stagnate to long and count the money under the pillow every night you could see a skills drain that can get the wheel stuck in the mud?

        Sometimes you need to persue a project that could be marginal/break-even in accounting terms but the spins-off downstream could be a company maker.

  22. @ sowerbob, 787 was overweight but meet it design range due to amazing aero. Even with RR being 4 percent off and GE being 2.5 off it met it contractual range. With the wing see what 787-9 is doing on ULR flight. The wing is a lot smaller than A350 but range is same. $17 billion was because of management payments for late delivery and screw up. They brought in Shanahan and right the ship. A350 took wave 3 to meet it weight target at A/C 55. -1000 is not meeting target in weight but there is margin and Airbus is using it to meet contractual terms.

    • “.. 787 was overweight but met its design range due to amazing aero.”

      “amazing” here is misplaced and invariably overused anyway.
      Meeting range was achieved via boosting MTOW ( while consuming all design margin in the process. 789 appears to be up against a hard wall @253t. on the way there “design range” shrunk quite a bit due to more realistic cabin reference layout.)

    • Tranche 3 was ln 22 but don’t let facts get in the way of prejudice. If you can’t see the difference in the maturity at first delivery of the respective programmes and the management of aircraft development then it is best I save my breath.

      The A350 programme is in my eyes the best run R&D programme in recent years with near on cost and near on time delivery. Airbus got heavily burnt on the A380 development and that framed their thinking on the A350, stop and mend to avoid excessive rework.

      The B787 programme was the complete opposite, a reckless endeavour with too much wishful thinking and too little pragmatic management. I bet Boeing have learnt many lessons from that debacle, hope so for their sake

  23. I also don’t see any evidence whatsoever of “big damage”.

    Just because Dreamliner fanboys kept saying it a decade ago doesn’t reflect a reality where A330ceo/neo(*) sales have gone gangbusters in the meantime…

    (*) forgot to add A350 in that list.

    • Seems Airbus is happy with the current situation, so I will leave them in peace.

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