Airbus has the “rock” and “hard place” for Boeing NMA

Re-engined hummer

Scherer proved that he can turn a phrase, reminiscent of his predecessor, John Leahy, whose acerbic wit sometimes ran away.

Scherer touted the A350, a new design, has having 45 tonnes less take-off weight than “that re-engined hummer,” the Boeing 777X. The 777X is a re-engined version of the original 777, now informally called the Classic.

Christian Scherer

Christian Scherer

The 777-8 faces the A350-1000 while the 777-9 has a market segment to itself, when talking about capacity. Sales of the 777X have stalled since the program was launched because the -8 is an ultra-long-haul niche airplane and the -9 is, say some, too big.

Sales of the -1000 stalled because the production line is sold out into the next decade.

The A350-900 faces the Boeing 787-10.

“The A350 is the most modern aircraft out there in the long-haul sector,” Scherer said.

Global market outlook

The global aircraft market remains quite positive, with global areas increasing trend toward deregulation, says “Globally, we’re still in a very healthy situation.” That outweighs positively areas where there are some dark signs, he said.

Brexit is one such example, as are China-US trade tensions, says Philippe Mhun, EVP Programmes & Services for Airbus.


Mhun said a new final assembly line is Mobile (AL) for the A220 one expansion of production rates. Airbus delivered its 12,000th airplane yesterday, an A220 assembled in Montreal for Delta Air Lines.

Scherer said adaptability and flexibility is required for the airlines.

Competition constantly forces airplane manufacturers to adapt, Scherer said. Airbus innovated and adapted by acquiring the Bombardier C Series, a clean-sheet design, to supersede the shrinks of the A318 and A319.

The A220, as the C Series was renamed, is flexible, flying short and long hops.

Mhun called the A220 “an amazing piece of technology.”

The A220 opens a new market access for Airbus, said Scherer, spanning the regional and mainline aircraft.

Remi Maillard, Head of Services by Airbus, said Airbus is expanding its services business, including its Skywise electronic monitoring system that is designed to provide predictive maintenance.

The next 50 years

Airbus has to the “actor” of its own change instead of lobbying against it, Scherer said.

“Airbus has become the symbol of the pan-European industrial company,” he said. Airbus has the prospect of becoming a pan-Global leader.

Mhun’s “wish” is that his grandchildren can fly a zero-emissions airplane.

Scherer said “there’s a part of me Boeing makes that mistake. What value does this program bring to the market? Are we better off bringing incremental value by re-engining airplanes, or are we better off bringing out the checkbook and spending billions of dollars on an airplane” that doesn’t bring much new to the market?

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