Airbus Loses Altitude

Remember the smug Euro-weenies when the Airbus A380 first flew? Some of the French declaring it the “Post Boeing” era. Well, what a difference a year makes.

The same Superjumbo A380 that brought them such pride is now an albatross around the company’s neck. Production delays have pushed back delivery dates by over a year and have cost Airbus over 4 Billion dollars. And that number continues to climb as more customers demand compensation for delivery delays.

Airbus CEO, Gustav Humbert, got resigned after the delays were announced and Airbus parent company EADS is in all sorts of trouble. Tales of insider trading and political infighting have shaken the company – and its share price. The French are blaming much of the problems on the Germans while the Germans are blaming the French. (Who would have imagined that happening? 😉

Now, just a year after the A380 first took to the air, the Euro-weniees have a little less to be smug about.

Airbus orders fall behind Boeing
European aircraft maker Airbus has fallen behind arch US rival Boeing in the number of new orders for planes.

The firm’s chief commercial officer, John Leahy, told the BBC that Airbus orders were currently running at “about 20% or 25% compared to Boeing“.

However, he insisted that the firm remained on course to deliver more planes than Boeing this year.

Airbus has been hit by production setbacks with its giant A380 jet and senior management problems.

Until recently, the firm had been leading Boeing in total passenger jet orders.

But reports on Wednesday suggested that Airbus orders for the first six months of the year would be in the region of 145 to 150 planes, compared with about 450 at Boeing.

Additionally, the airlines have turned up their nose at the initial designs of the A350 and have embraced the fuel efficient Boeing 787 which is an aircraft Airbus simply has no competitor for. The A350 project is in such trouble, the new CEO of Airbus has not committed to it yet and may not. If he does commit to the project, it will represent a mammoth roll of the dice both in terms of the marketplace and his ability to reform the company so they can actually deliver the product.

The airlines will work with Airbus because the last thing they want is a monopoly, the current duopoly is bad enough. Look for a large number of orders to be placed in the next few months. The problem is that Airbus can’t fulfill their current orders.

If fuel prices stabilize or retreat and the new CEO can refocus the company, Airbus can rebound. But today it looks like things are going to get worse before they get better.

Ironically, it was the quest to be the biggest -the very thing the Europeans despise Americas for- that was their downfall while the efficiency of the American product is what is winning for Boeing.

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