A Bad Week
Night and Day. That's the current difference between rivals Boeing and Airbus, who for years have been on the world's stage, duking it out toe-to-toe in a cage match to the finish. If this were a reality TV show, we'd be forced to call it Last Airliner Manufacturer Standing.
Here is how good it's going for Boeing, and how ugly the world is becoming for Airbus:
This continues to be a very good first quarter for Boeing, who on Monday announced $4.5 billion in sales from buyers in Kuwait, Russia, and the United States. These orders bolster their order book with a weak dollar making their planes a bargain for the rest of the world. But troubled Airbus suffered a serious blow this week when United Parcel Service Inc. cancelled their order for 10 Airbus A380 freighters, worth approximately $3 billion at list prices, joining its rival FedEx which cancelled an identical order last year. This news piles on the woes for Airbus, who last week announced a major restructuring plan that will lead to about 10,000 job losses among Airbus staff and subcontractors in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain.
So as Europe reels because the A380 anchor is dragging down the Airbus ship, Boeing can't write orders fast enough. From Aero News Network:
In addition to an 18-plane deal from Kuwait's Aviation Lease and Finance Company, on Monday Continental Airlines ordered five 787s, worth about $900 million, increasing its orders for the new plane to 25. It also upgraded 12 existing orders for the 787-8 to -9's, a larger variant with 40 additional seats. It's the first order for the larger Dreamliner variant from a US carrier. And the Russian air freight company Volga-Dnepr also reportedly signed a deal worth $1.4 billion dollars for five new 747-8 Freighters, with an option for five more. The company's president told Reuters it is the biggest deal in Russian civil aviation history.Things are really heating up in the Dreamliner project, with new orders prompting rumors reported last week that Boeing is discussing increased 787 production with suppliers. But the really wild news is the ANN report that American Airlines has hinted it may want as many as 300 new 737's, coming conveniently at a time when about 7,000 Boeing workers may become idle due to the planned shutdown of the C-17 production line.
Just about everyone in the industry has predicted that 2007 will be a year to remember in aviation. The beginning of a mega-shift in airliner manufacturing superiority is just one of the huge stories this year, with the user fee fight and the delivery of VLJs (or the non-delivery of some VLJs) also requiring us to keep on top of many very big stories all at one time.
And as a writer, I wouldn't have it any other way.