Discussion:
Airbus A380 slips another year, Emirates may defect
(too old to reply)
John L
2006-10-03 17:54:38 UTC
Permalink
The WSJ reports that the A380 has slipped another 10 months, with first
deliveries no sooner than some time in 2008.

Emirates says they're reviewing all options. We know what that means.

The article specifically points to the wiring problems and the two-country
assembly strategy, but says it's more than that.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115986055210580979-email.html

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JF Mezei
2006-10-03 20:18:07 UTC
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Post by John L
The WSJ reports that the A380 has slipped another 10 months, with first
deliveries no sooner than some time in 2008.
This is absolute nonsense. The wiring problem is no longer credible. 2
years delay is a farce because Airbus could have gone to some contractor
and asked them to build and install an IFE system in its planes is far
less time than that.
Post by John L
Emirates says they're reviewing all options. We know what that means.
It means that Airbus will be wining and dining launch customers as never
before in order to convince them to keep their orders.

To me, the no longer credible wiring excuse leads to specualtion on what
is really happening:

In light of my theory that these problems helped lower the cost to EADS
of buying BAEs shares, I could go one step further and now speculate
that the French are wanting to kick both BAE and Daimler out and become
the controlling shareholder.

Airbus will probably need a big injection of new capital to keep it
alive. Daimler which is seeking to lower is investment in EADS is
unlikely to wish to dish out more money. So if EADS issues new stock and
the french buy it, then the french end up with a controlling stake (with
the russians possibly buying in too). (Spain had also mentioned it might
wish to increase its stake in EADS).

Another possibility is that the A380 has serious performance problems
and Airbus needs to either retrofit the existing hulls, or build new
ones and scrap the dozen that have already been built, and they are
buying time to let engineers find solutions first.
Post by John L
The article specifically points to the wiring problems and the two-country
assembly strategy, but says it's more than that.
Sorry, but again, that is bullshit. For all its flaws, Airbus has
experience in designing/building aircraft from separate locations. And
in the past, it was even worse because it was separate companies that
worked together.

In this specific case of wiring, the hull destined for Singapore has
been built some time ago. They could have flow it to Hamburg and get the
people there to manually string every piece of IFE wire, cut it to the
right length and fit it with the connectors right inside the aircfraft
instead of pre-building the bundles with inaccurate plans.

It just doesn make sense that wiring would cause so much delay. They
could have at least setup the Singapore design and at least delivered
aircraft to Singapore. There has to be something else.
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Daniel
2006-10-03 21:49:46 UTC
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Post by JF Mezei
Airbus will probably need a big injection of new capital to keep it
alive. Daimler which is seeking to lower is investment in EADS is
unlikely to wish to dish out more money. So if EADS issues new stock and
the french buy it, then the french end up with a controlling stake (with
the russians possibly buying in too). (Spain had also mentioned it might
wish to increase its stake in EADS).
There's an article from Spiegel about political tensions at play:
http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,440527,00.html

Then, you can refer to A-350XWB-V2, since it seems now they'd want an
all plastics plane also.

What a state of confusion...
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JF Mezei
2006-10-04 04:08:21 UTC
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Another issue not yet mentioned:

If it is REALLY IFE and cabin systems wiring which is the issue and
delayed 2 years, shoudln't Airbus be able to deliver the freighter
versions first ? Or does FEDex have plans for IFEs to be installed in
front of each cargo pallet ?

I realise that the freighter version requires some strenghtening of
fuselage/floors, but wouldn't those designs be done by now ?

I know that Singapore probably paid money to be the first operator, but
it would still remain the first passenger operator. And by delivering
some cargo versions ASAP, Airbus might get about a billion dollars in
revenus, which is not too shabby an amount considering the $6 billion
estimated price tag for those delays.

Unless, of course, the flaws in the A380 go far beyond simple
performance and even a freighter version couldn't be airworthy.
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Daniel
2006-10-04 07:27:34 UTC
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Would be hard for an organization as big and multinational to conceal a
very fundamental problem on that progam. More likely, there are lots of
bits and pieces to fix and there isn't that much money left to do it
that quicky.
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JF Mezei
2006-10-04 07:54:59 UTC
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Post by Daniel
Would be hard for an organization as big and multinational to conceal a
very fundamental problem on that progam. More likely, there are lots of
bits and pieces to fix and there isn't that much money left to do it
that quicky.
How many people within the organisation would have to know the real
results from the test flights ?

Another possibility: Boeing's 747-8. While it has yet to make any dent
in jumbo sales, perhaps its performance might in fact be better than the
380 and Airbus has no choice but to improve the 380 more,

When the 380 started, it competed against the 747-400 and perhaps the
747-400 enhanced. Airbus may have succeeded in making the 380 better
than the 747-400 generation. But what if the 747-800 ends up matching or
being better than the 380 ?

In such a case, Airbus would be right in delaying its plane by 2 years
to improve it so that once in production, it will retain an edge over
the 747-8.

If Airbus leaves the 380 between the 747-400 and 747-800, then, once the
747-800 becomes real, it will always remain a runner up. The A340 story
repeated. It was a leader for a couple of years, and when the 777 came
in, the 340 lost any market potential it had.

If Airbus tells its cutsomers the real reason for the delays is to
improve performance, perhaps the customer might be more amenable to
accepting a nice compensation gift without cancelling the orders.

Rememver that 747-8 passenger versions are still a number of years from
first commercial flight, so the early 380 customers will still get their
380 before they could get their first 747-800.
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Daniel
2006-10-04 09:28:55 UTC
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Post by JF Mezei
How many people within the organisation would have to know the real
results from the test flights ?
All personnel directly involved would make hundreds, adding engineers.
After you'd have outsiders like airlines test pilots. Plus all
personnel from suppliers tweaking the systems according to flight test
data. The only non-PR information that has leaked so far is that A380
is comfortable in its envelope, which doesn't say it would still meet
performance guarantees.
Post by JF Mezei
Another possibility: Boeing's 747-8. While it has yet to make any dent
in jumbo sales, perhaps its performance might in fact be better than the
380 and Airbus has no choice but to improve the 380 more,
On very long haul, that's no secret 747-8 beats A380. Qantas has looked
into it to serve Houston after placing their A380 order. They must have
all the figures.
Post by JF Mezei
When the 380 started, it competed against the 747-400 and perhaps the
747-400 enhanced. Airbus may have succeeded in making the 380 better
than the 747-400 generation. But what if the 747-800 ends up matching or
being better than the 380 ?
It's *only* the third generation of 747 and first stretch - SP was a
shrink. Joe Sutter at last Farnborough watching A380 said he thought
they came up with a more 'elegant solution'. I believe that. Note his
team didn't have any CAD (nor did Chantier de St Nazaire when doing
Normandy in 30s, nor did Nervi when doing those incredible reinforced
concrete structures in Italy in the 50s). Inspired designs are what
they are, physics don't change. The only bold Airbus design ever was
Ziegler's A300, a big TA twin nobody had made before. Adding F16-proven
mini side-stick on A320 wasn't very innovative. And L-1011 had CFC
before that.
Post by JF Mezei
In such a case, Airbus would be right in delaying its plane by 2 years
to improve it so that once in production, it will retain an edge over
the 747-8.
I think only way to 'improve' would be adding seats. That may be where
-8 will hurt, making the beast's niche even smaller.

It's getting harder by the day to buy into original business model.
What's going to happen when Boeing replaces -8 and big 777s with Y3
when they'll have that option by 2018? Is Airbus going to sell 1,200
A380 as they'd claim within 10 years, building 120/year?
Post by JF Mezei
If Airbus leaves the 380 between the 747-400 and 747-800, then, once the
747-800 becomes real, it will always remain a runner up. The A340 story
repeated. It was a leader for a couple of years, and when the 777 came
in, the 340 lost any market potential it had.
First generation A340s are contemporary to MD11 early 90s, not that
huge a success. Second generation A340s (new wings and engines) were to
match 777s. Also not a huge success after improved 300ER/200LR
launched, and quickly joining history books after remaining ETOPs will
be relaxed on 777s.
Post by JF Mezei
If Airbus tells its cutsomers the real reason for the delays is to
improve performance, perhaps the customer might be more amenable to
accepting a nice compensation gift without cancelling the orders.
Adding compensations to cutthroat pricing and perhaps even performance
penalties, perhaps they'd better lose some customers... What's having
those companies sticking to their orders anyways, now that deliveries
have been pushed so far?
Post by JF Mezei
Rememver that 747-8 passenger versions are still a number of years from
first commercial flight, so the early 380 customers will still get their
380 before they could get their first 747-800.
Believing the fresh schedules yes. Which I think would be 'honest' and
'informed' this time, Streiff not seemingly being the kind of guy you'd
sidestep or accommodate with some treats. He's already threatened to
resign once.

Must be very early in the morning in Quebec. Are you in Europe now?
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Tom Sanderson
2006-10-04 22:43:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Daniel
Post by JF Mezei
If Airbus tells its cutsomers the real reason for the delays is to
improve performance, perhaps the customer might be more amenable to
accepting a nice compensation gift without cancelling the orders.
Adding compensations to cutthroat pricing and perhaps even performance
penalties, perhaps they'd better lose some customers... What's having
those companies sticking to their orders anyways, now that deliveries
have been pushed so far?
The only thing the airlines would hate worse than a bad Airbus product would
be if Airbus wasn't around at all. A Boeing monopoly (or Boeing thinking
they have a monopoly) isn't good for anyone, including Boeing.

My guess is that the airlines really really really want there to be some
competition for the 747, even if they have to put up with all the A380 crap
to get it.

Tom.
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Daniel
2006-10-05 09:23:35 UTC
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Post by Tom Sanderson
The only thing the airlines would hate worse than a bad Airbus
product would
Post by Tom Sanderson
be if Airbus wasn't around at all. A Boeing monopoly (or Boeing thinking
they have a monopoly) isn't good for anyone, including Boeing.
No it wouldn't be a good outcome for sure. But I suspect at some point
and while absorbing MDD, Boeing was happy with having to face only
Airbus on the condescending assumption it would make a nice competitor
to share a duopoly with. Then Boeing turned extra-nervous triggering
its transformation, now relaxed again even with the ongoing WTO
arbitration, and that would be another mistake. You'd be amazed how
deep some pockets are. Plans might be for Airbus to recapture
technological lead in 15 years whatever it takes, and that means good
management plus strong government backing. If I were a US pension fund
with a stake in EADS and long term investment plans, I wouldn't worry
too much having such good bedfellows as governments.

Prevailing current 'European' approach is to set up industrial policies
benefiting from public support, leading to concentrations, not only
considered as legitimate but also supported by some electorates in key
countries. You'd engineer one viable national carrier, consolidate
industry into national or trans-national champions prior to supporting
with public funds. People love it, sounds safe and wise way to spend
public money for good jobs shielded from too much competition. Airbus
has been consolidated on a graveyard, then vacuumed around. Last to
vanish from the business at least as commercial AC integrators are
Fokker, Dornier, Saab, Avro. Italians and Bristish are reduced to
subcontractor status, or partnering status (Eurofighter, ATR, 787, JSF,
etc.).

American thinking would rather be lawmakers having Boeing sell off
United Airlines and PW to prevent cartelization, making sure there's
competition on all aspects of the activity prior to supporting with
public funds. That happened in the 20s and is still the general
preferred philosophy. Now there's a shortage of competitors to support
this approach, Lockheed not seemingly tempted by entering the
commercial aviation fray again. That leads you to the tanker RFP farce
for instance, where a US aerospace giant having forgotten how to
assemble a plane long time ago is pushing a foreign aircraft for a
government contract for sake of appearances (and $), all the while that
same government engaging into litigation against Airbus for what it
perceives as unfair practices.

Then of course, Boeing had a very naughty behavior on that RFP and was
to pay steep price for it. But all what it did is accepted practice in
some other places, when not the rule. Which doesn't excuse anything.

Airframe manufacturers that managed to fight Boeing on its designs on
an even playing field, even managing to sideline it occasionally, are:
Sikorsky, Martin, Curtiss, Lockheed, Convair, Douglas. All were
commercial operations similar to Boeing paying ultimate price for
failure. Airbus is a totally different animal and seems will stay that
way. Now being the last survivor of its kind and its magnitude, Boeing
should realize that it's on an endangered species list.

And this industry needs realize it's lost its wealthy diversity.
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jbaloun
2006-10-04 14:22:23 UTC
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Post by JF Mezei
If Airbus tells its cutsomers the real reason for the delays is to
improve performance, perhaps the customer might be more amenable to
accepting a nice compensation gift without cancelling the orders.
One comment by Christian Streiff that is remotely aligned with your
theory:

"Last but not least, we shall also use the time of delay to ensure full
maturity of the A380 at entry into service."

IAG Blog has the text of his presentation and other articles:

http://iagblog.blogspot.com/

In hindsight Streiff's plan to recover from the wiring problem and
proposals for cost reduction sound like good basic techniques for an
airframe manufacturer. They casually mention simplifying the assembly
lines and logistics to gain 2 billion euro savings a year. They make it
sound like low hanging fruit. This begs the question: If this savings
was so easy to achieve, why have they not done it sooner? Boeing has
been making such painful changes for the past few years.

Solve the A380 mess, cut staff, continue record levels of production of
A320s, bring the A400 into production, and not only redesign the A350
but accelerate the pace of development of the A350. Engineers can
actually burn out if you drive them too hard. Then they tend to make
mistakes. Airbus has to turn the corner. Dr. Streiff has prescribed the
cure: Airbus must behave like a modern airframe manufacturer in the
world economy; but euro politics will not like the job loss.

If your other theory is true, that this is a power play by the French
to take more control of the company, they are playing a very expensive
game that even the French may not be able to afford as long as the
company does not actually make a profit.

I get a headache just thinking about it, I do not envy the lot of Mr.
Streiff.

James
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Tom Sanderson
2006-10-04 22:47:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by jbaloun
They casually mention simplifying the assembly
lines and logistics to gain 2 billion euro savings a year. They make it
sound like low hanging fruit. This begs the question: If this savings
was so easy to achieve, why have they not done it sooner?
Because they didn't have to. Airbus, for all it's posturing, doesn't
operate in nearly as competitive an environment as Boeing. Provided Airbus
looks good to the world, the partner governments will always bail it out if
for no other reason than to show how Europe can compete with the US in
aerospace.

Now that they don't look good, the fact that they were acting like a company
with an effectively unlimited cash supply is starting to come to the fore
and they're going to realize very quickly that you can either be run by
governments, or be competitive, but not both.

Tom.
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JF Mezei
2006-10-05 04:10:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tom Sanderson
Because they didn't have to. Airbus, for all it's posturing, doesn't
operate in nearly as competitive an environment as Boeing.
There was a time when it was the opposite, Airbus being the more
efficient builder and more agressive seller compared to Boeing with its
more antiquated techniques, monopoly thiking and "let the customer beg
for airplanes" mentality. This has turned around quite a bit with the
last big change in management.

The danger I see with thew new guy at the head of Airbus is that be may
be doing too many cuts and this may impair Airbus's ability to make
sales AND deliver. If he orders a "blank" 15,000 workforce reduction
because on paper , that is what accountants say is needed, then chances
are that Airbus will lose key people, projects will fall behind and
Airbus will lose its ability to compete.

If, on the other hand, he really learns the business and listens to the
people below him, he may be able to really streamline the process.

Consider just the software issue, just ensuring that Airbus Inc has the
same software and combining software licences so there are no leftovers
from the DASA/Aérospaciale/CASA/BAE days, then this may in fact result
in significant cost savings in operational efficiency (and licencing
costs) without having to let go of people.
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matt weber
2006-10-04 19:31:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by JF Mezei
Post by Daniel
Would be hard for an organization as big and multinational to conceal a
very fundamental problem on that progam. More likely, there are lots of
bits and pieces to fix and there isn't that much money left to do it
that quicky.
How many people within the organisation would have to know the real
results from the test flights ?
Another possibility: Boeing's 747-8. While it has yet to make any dent
in jumbo sales, perhaps its performance might in fact be better than the
380 and Airbus has no choice but to improve the 380 more,
When the 380 started, it competed against the 747-400 and perhaps the
747-400 enhanced. Airbus may have succeeded in making the 380 better
than the 747-400 generation. But what if the 747-800 ends up matching or
being better than the 380 ?
In such a case, Airbus would be right in delaying its plane by 2 years
to improve it so that once in production, it will retain an edge over
the 747-8.
If Airbus leaves the 380 between the 747-400 and 747-800, then, once the
747-800 becomes real, it will always remain a runner up. The A340 story
repeated. It was a leader for a couple of years, and when the 777 came
in, the 340 lost any market potential it had.
If Airbus tells its cutsomers the real reason for the delays is to
improve performance, perhaps the customer might be more amenable to
accepting a nice compensation gift without cancelling the orders.
Rememver that 747-8 passenger versions are still a number of years from
first commercial flight, so the early 380 customers will still get their
380 before they could get their first 747-800.
I recently did some thumbnail calculation, and I'll be polite and say
the A380 is in serious trouble. There are two basic problems with the
A380 at this point. It is very late, so the technology advantages it
offers deteriorate by the minute, as new designs will come into
production, that are several years newer. It is also very heavy.
Do the arithmetic. 550 pax, 611,000 pounds OEW. Nearly 1200 pounds
per pax (actually 1200 pounds per pax in real configurations).

When you work out the fuel component of ASM, the A350 (assuming it
ever gets built), and the 787 beat the pants off the A380, in fact
when looking at the 747-8i versus the A380 on the LAX-SYD run, believe
it or not, the payload on the 747-8i is larger!, and the Fuel
component in ASM cost is considerably lower on the 747-8i, now that it
looks like Boeing will swap a little range for a little more fuselage.
The 747-8i takes what is actually a very good airframe, and mates it
to the next generation of engines.

I am no longer convinced that all of the A380's currently on order
will even be built. The delay is turning the A380 into the proverbial
white elephant. The market is going to pass the A380 by. In the short
term it puts Emirates, QANTAS, and perhaps Singapore Airlines behind
the 8 ball. They have marketed, and made fleet and route decision
based upon an airplane they aren't going to have.
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Tom Sanderson
2006-10-04 22:41:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by JF Mezei
Another possibility: Boeing's 747-8. While it has yet to make any dent
in jumbo sales, perhaps its performance might in fact be better than the
380 and Airbus has no choice but to improve the 380 more,
I don't think there's any way the 747-8 won't have better performance than
the A380. It will have at least the same generation systems as the A380,
one generation newer engines, and a much better structural weight.

Tom.
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Tom Sanderson
2006-10-04 22:38:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by JF Mezei
If it is REALLY IFE and cabin systems wiring which is the issue and
delayed 2 years, shoudln't Airbus be able to deliver the freighter
versions first ?
Sure, but they don't have any freighters to flight test yet. To deliver
freighters first, they'd have to build them and then flip the flight test
program around to do the freighters first. That would be a major revamp to
the flight test program, since now you'd be flight testing for the type
certificate, not just the freighter derivative.

If they decided to do it today, they'd still be hugely delayed as they built
the freighter hulls up from scratch.
Post by JF Mezei
I realise that the freighter version requires some strenghtening of
fuselage/floors, but wouldn't those designs be done by now ?
Probably, but I doubt that the parts are built. Things like floor beams and
cargo doors are probably long lead items.
Post by JF Mezei
Unless, of course, the flaws in the A380 go far beyond simple
performance and even a freighter version couldn't be airworthy.
I don't think there's any way the thing won't be airworthy, but I doubt it
will ever be a great cargo freighter. It will be fine for package freight,
where they get a lot more $/lb, but the payload of the A380 is too low to
fill the whole cabin with normal density cargo, so you're packing around a
lot of extra structure for no gain, which just means you're burning fuel
that you don't have to.

Tom.
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Tom Sanderson
2006-10-04 22:33:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by JF Mezei
This is absolute nonsense. The wiring problem is no longer credible. 2
years delay is a farce because Airbus could have gone to some contractor
and asked them to build and install an IFE system in its planes is far
less time than that.
I think "wiring problems" is code for "we can't run wires because we don't
know where all the parts of the plane are." So it's still a wiring problem,
but it's being cause by a much more fundamental CAD screwup.

I forget what kind of solid model CATIA V4 uses, but it's different than V5
(which uses all splines, I think). So I don't think it's possible to have a
real-time syncronized digital mockup when half the plane is on one system
and half is on the other. You should be able to translate between the two,
but that probably takes some manual effort so it wouldn't happen in
realtime.

My guess is that the two models got out of sync and they don't have one
digital mockup of the whole aircraft. As a result, any wire harness that
crosses the V4/V5 boundary probably was designed across the models so, if
they're not in sync, the harnesses won't work.

Fixing individual harnesses shouldn't be that hard, as you note, but you
can't run a production line by doing manual installation of individual
wires. To fix the problem, they have to get a digital mockup that works
then design the harnesses. That would require getting the two digital
models in sync, and that could be a *huge* project if they really haven't
been keeping up with each other's changes. I can easily see a 12-month
delay to bring two 3D models of that size into coherence.
Post by JF Mezei
It means that Airbus will be wining and dining launch customers as never
before in order to convince them to keep their orders.
That's about the best they can hope for, I think. Nobody's going to order
any more A380's now until they find out when they'll show up.
Post by JF Mezei
Another possibility is that the A380 has serious performance problems
and Airbus needs to either retrofit the existing hulls, or build new
ones and scrap the dozen that have already been built, and they are
buying time to let engineers find solutions first.
All the reporting I've seen has said the flight tests are going really well,
so I doubt it's something as fundamental as that.
Post by JF Mezei
Sorry, but again, that is bullshit. For all its flaws, Airbus has
experience in designing/building aircraft from separate locations. And
in the past, it was even worse because it was separate companies that
worked together.
It all depends on how they're coordinated. Boeing's been building aircraft
in separate locations from separate companies for decades too, but they
never had a single unified CAD system for the whole airplane until the 777.
Post by JF Mezei
In this specific case of wiring, the hull destined for Singapore has
been built some time ago. They could have flow it to Hamburg and get the
people there to manually string every piece of IFE wire, cut it to the
right length and fit it with the connectors right inside the aircfraft
instead of pre-building the bundles with inaccurate plans.
Sure, but you couldn't certify it. Or, more to the point, you could certify
that one plane but, since it wouldn't be representative of the production
models, it wouldn't do you any good other than getting Singapore their one
plane on time. And no operators wants an airplane where the fleet consists
of one plane.

Off topic, are my posts showing up properly in Google now or is Outlook
still screwing me over?

Tom.
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n***@yahoo.ca
2006-10-05 02:38:50 UTC
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Post by Tom Sanderson
Off topic, are my posts showing up properly in Google now or is Outlook
still screwing me over?
Tom.
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Posts are coming through clearly here.
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jbaloun
2006-10-06 05:25:33 UTC
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Post by John L
The WSJ reports that the A380 has slipped another 10 months, with first
deliveries no sooner than some time in 2008.
I was beginning to wonder how the A380 delivery delays are affecting
the suppliers.
This Flight Int. article saya RR is puting Trent production on hold.

Airbus A380 delays force Rolls-Royce to suspend Trent 900 production
for one year
By Graham Dunn
http://www.flightglobal.com/Articles/2006/10/05/Navigation/177/209701/Airbus+A380+delays+force+Rolls-Royce+to+suspend+Trent+900+production+for+one.html

BAE Wings? Maybe BAE is not ramping up production and not increasing
staff?
Airbus assembly plants? Are parts starting to stack up in Toulouse?
Are they to continue to build airframes?

Maybe they can continue to produce parts and be well stocked for the
eventual ramp-up of production? Or continue to build airframes which
then wait for the correct wiring to be installed? It seems like it
would be better to delay consuming money and resources by delaying
adding value to parts and assemblies yet somehow keep the workers
employed and productive until the real production can start.

Boeing is being extremely careful with it's production rate changes to
be sure the suppliers are not over burdened. Jerking the A380
deliveries to a halt must have severe effects thay ripple out into the
supply chain. Suppliers may have to lay off employees.

This whole thing is way beyond 'not funny' any more for many reasons
not the least of which is the finite nature of the market. Of all the
airlines, a finite number have the ability and the need to operate 400+
seat aircraft. Of those some have decided they are ready to expand and
have placed orders for the A380. Now the delays are impacting these
airlines, consuming their resources and time value of money. Even with
compensation from Airbus, opportunities are lost; tickets planned to be
sold in 2007 are delayed to 2008 etc. This impacts the entire jumbo
aircraft market. Since Boeing is competing for some of the same
customers around 450 seats, the Airbus mess has an indirect affect on
Boeing. The Airbus mess has damaged and delayed part of the market and
caused both companies to miss opportunities to sell. The point is the
Airbus mess is not happening in a vacuum, it is happening to the
duopoly. Boeing may gain new customers or converts as an outcome but
still the damage has been done.

James
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JF Mezei
2006-10-06 06:44:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by jbaloun
I was beginning to wonder how the A380 delivery delays are affecting
the suppliers.
Many suppliers have already announced reduced earnings projections due
to the 380 delays.
Post by jbaloun
Airbus A380 delays force Rolls-Royce to suspend Trent 900 production
for one year
And one wonders if at this point in time, they could use that time to
tweak the design to make it more efficient, or is it at a stage where
its design is cast in stone ?
Post by jbaloun
BAE Wings? Maybe BAE is not ramping up production and not increasing
staff?
BAE has not been involved in wing production. It is an Airbus owned
plant at Fulton which is. BAE has been but a mere shareholder in Airbus.
Post by jbaloun
Airbus assembly plants? Are parts starting to stack up in Toulouse?
Are they to continue to build airframes?
I had read somewhere that 13 hulls had been assembled, but that they
anticipated stacking parts. By now, of course, I would assume production
would have halted on fuselages. And if the real underlying reasons for
the delays is to give Airbus time to tweak the designs to make it
lighter, one would assume Airbus would have ordeded the shutting down of
fuselage manufacturing as soon as wiring delays were made public.
Post by jbaloun
eventual ramp-up of production? Or continue to build airframes which
then wait for the correct wiring to be installed?
Consider that Airnus has developped a better/lighter composite spar for
the wings, originally intended for the freighter version. But I assume
they will want it on as many of the passenger units as possible. So
stopping production of wings ASAP so that the new spar can be integrated
before production starts again would be the logical thing to do.

And I assume that Airbus will want to make changes to many parts of the
aircraft structure. There was some note about the tail section needing
re-enforcement. Lets take this time-out to change the actual production
design so that fixes don't need to be applied after the fact at the
assembly hall.

This is one reason I think the first 13 aircraft ( irf that is tryuly
how may have been built so far) will be heavily discounted if they do
not include any of the improvements that are being made during this
"down" period.
Post by jbaloun
This whole thing is way beyond 'not funny' any more for many reasons
not the least of which is the finite nature of the market.
Consider also airports who hurried projects to accomodate the A380 when
they could have waited a couple years more and spread the work over a
longer period.

or Lufthansa that has already built a new A380 maintenance hangar to
maintain its own aircraft (and I assume that of other airlines operating
the A380). This is capital already spent, but which will remain
unproductive for a number of years before LH start to get its own A380s.
Post by jbaloun
Boeing. The Airbus mess has damaged and delayed part of the market and
caused both companies to miss opportunities to sell.
It gets worse. Conside Singapore that had been told it would get its 380
in June. It planned aircraft leases based on the assumption it could
either dispose of a 747 at about that time, or start to use a 747 on a
new route at that time. If it has already comitted to returning the
aircraft, and no new aircraft arrives to replace it, then what is SG to
to ?
Or if SG has already committed to a new route, but doesn't have any
aircraft to operate it with, it must lease one "at last minute lease
fares" and without a long term contract since this would be a temperary
stop-gap measure.
Post by jbaloun
duopoly. Boeing may gain new customers or converts as an outcome but
still the damage has been done.
Being 2 years late but coming out with a great product is still
infinitely better than being on time and coming out with a product that
is already inferior to what Boeing has planned.

In the end, over the lifetime of the product, assuming it is has along
lifetime, the 2 year delay will not be of too much consequence. Consider
the 747. Started in early 1970s. But it wasn't until the last 1980s when
the -400 came out that the aircraft sales REALLy took off.

If the 380 turns out to be a dud like the early 340s, Airbus better fix
it ASAP to improve it sufficiently to be competitive.
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Tom Sanderson
2006-10-06 14:38:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by JF Mezei
In the end, over the lifetime of the product, assuming it is has along
lifetime, the 2 year delay will not be of too much consequence. Consider
the 747. Started in early 1970s. But it wasn't until the last 1980s when
the -400 came out that the aircraft sales REALLy took off.
Total 747-100 thru -300: 725 (1970-1991)
Total 747-400: 669 (1989-2006)

Sales rate of the -400 was only 14% higher than the Classic. With the
introduction of the -8, it's unlikely that -400 sales will ever surpass the
747-Classics.

Tom.
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Daniel
2006-10-06 08:11:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by jbaloun
BAE Wings? Maybe BAE is not ramping up production and not increasing
staff?
BAE doesn't make the wings for Airbus. Those UK manufacturing assets
had been transferred to Airbus when it was turned into a 'company'. In
exchange for transfer of those plants, workforce and know-how, BAE got
20% of Airbus shares, which was a lousy deal I think since wings are
pretty much the essentials in a AC, with engines (and perhaps wiring
also it seems :)

That's a turn of fortunes for the British from the days De Havilland,
BAC, Vickers and Avro where all able to conduct complex programs such
as Comet, VC-10, BAC-111, Trident, then assemble them in factories they
owned.

Hope they wisely spend that pocket change they'll be getting. With so
much new AC technologies available, new engineering and manufacturing
methods that supposedly reduce capital expenditure, time would be
perfect for new entrants. Moving fast, you'd essentially be up against
Boeing 'only' on the critical TA, SA segments. Need find another $17bn.
Any takers?
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