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Boeing vs Airbus newspaper article

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Boeing vs Airbus newspaper article

Old 28th Oct 2002, 06:18
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Boeing vs Airbus newspaper article

From 27-Oct Seattle Times:

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Old 28th Oct 2002, 10:54
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A balanced, well written article I thought.

I must admit, prior to reading it, I was expecting something else because of where the newspaper hails from.
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Old 28th Oct 2002, 17:19
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That is one of the best comparisons I have seen of Airbus vs Boeing. Clearly is shows how both sides view each other, and I liked how it showed how each side is funded Very well done. I still like both companies heheheheh
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Old 28th Oct 2002, 18:30
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Yes very good article. I have also flown both, each have their strong points from a pilots point of view.

I am more than happy to fly either and will never understand some of the attitudes I come across, especially from those on the Boeing who have never flown the Airbus. I guess it is similar to the argument from many years back, Prop's or Jets!
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Old 30th Oct 2002, 20:22
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Very well written article with pros and cons on both sides.
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Old 1st Nov 2002, 17:58
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I agree - a good article to read.
I have flown boeing and airbus - both good aircraft in their own right, but both have irritating niggles, and most of the niggles could have been sorted if the test pilots had done their job properly at the design and early testing phases. How I'd love to fly a hybrid with the best features of both types included - there would be no competetion - it would be a brilliant for pilots passengers and airlines.
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Old 3rd Nov 2002, 06:38
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What a thought-provoking article.

Now many of the financial details are out in the open. Although I might someday put in a bid to train on the A-320/319, some issues which are very briefly described, are very significant, and have permanently changed the civilian aviation landscape. Many people want to believe that the enormous differences in government policies seem to have little influence, regarding the ability to compete. The purported (former) European govt 'jobs program' might still exist.

US companies are not allowed, legally, to pay bribes to foreign govts, airlines, nor anyone else, whether to win contracts or whatever. The lack of this restriction in Europe, not to mention huge subsidies for civilian aircraft R&D etc, has helped Airbus win key sales or leases. One alleged case was with the first US (or even the first North American...) airline to order a fly-by-wire aircraft, the A-320. According to "The Wall Street Journal", the former CEO (allegedly) lost his 'golden parachute' because of certain discoveries: 'cruising' through seven months of winter must be a 'drag'...

The Airbus CEO, Philippe Camus, after pointing out the US' status as a superpower and its advantages, stated that Airbus sells airplanes "with no single European govt to support us...". That is very misleading, some might say almost a lie. Yep, that's what I said, assuming that he was accurately quoted in the newspaper article. They have more than a single govt's support-Airbus has a group of govts to support them, to the tune of many, many billions (isn't the word Milliard in French or German?) of dollars. Using some US subcontractors and engines (are they not built by a consortium?) changes none of the enormous advantages given by several govts, compared to Boeing's circumstances.

None of this is meant to compare politics, cultures or technologies, but rather to highlight the advantages which certain financial and legal philosophies can offer in order help so-called "private industries" compete in the world markets.

If any of these comments are not valid or accurate, then let's see the objective facts and data.

Last edited by Ignition Override; 3rd Nov 2002 at 06:48.
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Old 3rd Nov 2002, 08:12
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I will not comment on much of IO's post, some of his implied accusations are too close to libel for my liking.

Let me just look at his slightly snide jibe at the Airbus engine manufacturers and their consortia.

GE were the first supplier to Airbus when the UK pulled Rolls out the game and went to bed with those nice people from Lockheed - remember them?
GE supplied all the early engines on the A300B2/B4 (CF6-50C series that were basically those used on the DC10-30) until that other repository of European government funding (joke!), Pratt & Whitney, delivered some nice JT9D-59As for some airlines.

All the A310s were powered by either GE or P & W.

Both GE and P & W are currently supplying engines for A300-600s.

On the A330-200/-300, P & W, GE and Rolls all compete and win some and lose some.

CFM56, the American/French engine, was first used to re-engine DC8s, then into the 737-300/400/500 and to re-engine some US military KC-135s. Later, Airbus fitted the -5 versions on the A320 Family and the A340-200/-300. It continues to use the latest versions of this fine engine today. Boeing today uses the -7 in the 737NG. So there must be something really fishy there!

IAE is jointly owned by P & W, RR and the Japanese industry with some smaller holdings elsewhere. It is based in East Hartford, (in the US last time I looked) and has only sold, thus far, to airlines to equip the A320 Family.

The latest Airbus aircraft to fly, the A318, is fitted with either the PW 6000 from Pratt or the CFM56.

The A380 can be powered by a version of the Rolls Royce Trent. A consortium engine - from the P & W and GE Alliance - is also offered on this aircraft.

Remind me, what were you implying?
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Old 3rd Nov 2002, 08:42
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Override, when you write that US companies are not legally allowed to pay bribes I feel a certain cynicism coming from that quote. Rightly so, almost any deal in the airplane business that is done requires you to grease the wheels. It is a fact of life. In my country it is even a legitimate tax deduction (maybe that is the reason why the Airbus company is registered here). The deduction only counts for bribes paid outside of our country. I hate corruption, but I realize that this is the way things work in most countries. As Europeans we might take a more pragmatic approach than our friends across the Atlantic, certainly not the only case where this is so.

You mention a CEO of a North American carrier loosing his golden parachute after “irregularities” were discovered at the time of an order being placed for the first generation fly by wire aircraft. You are implying that he was illegally compensated one-way or the other by Airbus. I don’t doubt it for a second. In the States the last year has shown us what money hungry crooks a lot of CEO’s really are. The value of your own stock portfolio probably reflects this.
The following case is from first hand knowledge (although dating back 14 years). At my company the head of maintenance was pushed out when it was found out that he had a time-share in the Caribbean, which was paid for, by one of the major engine suppliers for our wide-body aircraft (it wasn’t GE or RR). Another was back in the seventies when the Queens husband got into a lot of trouble for excepting bribes from Lockheed (it was our “Watergate affair”) back then. Let he without sin …………

One thing that Camus is right about is that the USA represents such power in the world that it can force governments to kneel down. Collectively as Europeans we don’t have that power. In other words, when El Al evaluates an Airbus (and is considering ordering a few), Condit just needs to phone a couple of senators who contact the President who reminds Sharon on which side his bread is buttered on. The same goes with Taiwan, and a great number of other countries in the world. Business is Business. No Virgins in this game. I am sure Airbus has its ways as well.

Any complaint by both sides of unfair advantage are moot, and for public consumption. Sure Airbus received large start-up subsidies (and will continue receiving reduced ones in the current frame work). They used them well and produced a product that (although not perfect) is well thought out, and deserves its place in our business. They forced Boeing to get better, and will force them to do a lot more in order to preserve their position in our game. Derivatives just won’t do it anymore. When you are talking about subsidies you are talking about semantics. What is or what isn’t one? Does defence spending crossover count? Do we include R&D at places like NASA and DoD that directly benefit the civilian side? The USA just want to talk about the one form (direct aid), the Europeans would like to include all the indirect benefits that Boeing has. I think that something can be said for both approaches, and neither will have an impact.

If we are talking about aerospace R&D budgets. In the USA they are a multiple of what is available in Europe. A lot of it is geared towards defence, but represents a direct gain to the civilian side as well. Boeing is such an integrated company having its fingers in most pies, that it benefits from the huge defence spending in the USA, much more than Airbus does in Europe. Boeing not selling enough airplanes? Let defence place an order for 100 Boeing 767 tankers that kind of thing. Is it the best aircraft for the job, comes second. In Europe those kinds of orders are unheard off.

What I am trying to say is that the Europeans can return any complaint made by the USA on how unfair things are to sender.

Having both of these companies benefits our business. There is competition and innovation, and that is good for all.

As usual things are not black or white, and the shade of grey differs depending on your perspective.

Regards O,

Last edited by Otterman; 4th Nov 2002 at 07:57.
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Old 3rd Nov 2002, 11:29
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We could go on and on about he levels of subsidy for various state industries and how they’re applied. Much of the US subsidy is skimmed off the benefits of DoD research programmes and their follow through into civilian applications.

Whether it’s bananas or Jaguars or Scotch Whiskey, Uncle Sam doesn’t like competition. But rather than bore you with my view, here is the view of the American Institution of Electrical and Electronic Engineers:

As we approach the centennial of the Wright Brothers' first flight, it is more important than ever that America renew its national commitment to leadership in aviation. In order to do so, we must ensure the strength and stability of the nation’s aviation infrastructure by formulating and committing to a national aviation research and technology policy that incorporates adequate federal funding for visionary long-term aviation research.

So now what’s the difference between Airbus and Boeing?
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Old 3rd Nov 2002, 16:39
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We should finance boeing the way that airbus is financed.

The gov't should pay the developement costs of an aircraft and then boeing simply pay a license (with no interest or anything else) THen beoing can make dozens of new models without considering the economic case for each and one or two might be popular. WHich is EXACTLY how airbus does it.

There is no way that boeing could afford to develope an aircraft with a projected run of 200-400 airframes. You could never amortize the developement costs. For airbus that is not a problem. And that is why the playing field is NOT level no matter what the airbus supporters say.

And don't tell me about military subsidies because in the corporate world you can't simply rob from one division to pay for another. The shareholders force you to sell the losing division.

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Old 3rd Nov 2002, 17:16
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One feature of Boeing in recent years is how the whole catalogue of the latest developments and stretches have been such poor sellers. 717, 737-900, 747ER, 757-300, 767-400, 777-300, all have sold way below expectations, while the older models they were derived from (717 apart) continue to sell much better. This has never really happened before. Boeing R&D just isn't developing what the airlines seem to want.
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Old 4th Nov 2002, 05:56
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You folks made plenty of valid points, and I can sort of understand views of the US government's commercial clout as being a 300-pound gorilla,at least in a general way.

Otterman-I was aware of Lockheed's sins and they were punished, however they broke the law. Well-spoken, about "casting the first stone", especially if allowed by a govt. Were I native over there, things would look a bit different.

Maybe Boeing could have designed, many years ago, its cockpits around a standard format. This is a major disadvantage, which can't be corrected.

Mr. Camus' comments still appear (to me) to be very misleading, and it is not my intention to offend anyone's national pride, but only to point out contrasts. Say what is needed about the US govt's methods ( preferably from the last twenty years, or so), and it will be enlightening and probably news to me. My goal was only to stimulate a factual debate.

Pardon my long-winded comments way up above, but it still seems to me as if huge direct subsidies (whether for R&D or basic production costs etc) simply offer a major advantage in the world markets which Boeing can't compete with. As for top-quality, IF my company had the F-70/100 (rode on Cityhopper and other codeshares), Avro, A-310/300 etc, I would put in a bid in a second, to fly them (but have no interest in long flights-as a tourist it is lousy).

Blast away-my photon/electron deflector shield and jamming pods can protect me. Not to mention my $10.00 sunglasses from Walgreen's Drugstore!

Last edited by Ignition Override; 4th Nov 2002 at 06:11.
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Old 4th Nov 2002, 22:55
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If and when Boeing's commercial line goes out of business, the issue will be one of predatory pricing; that is, a competitor (Airbus, here) selling a product at a cost lower than production. If such a player has deep pockets, he can force the other out of business, and then recover his initial losses (and more) by the monopoly power he'll then have. That's basic price theory.

I've heard from several Boeing customers that Boeing was insufferably arrogant and brutal to deal with. I'd be interested in knowing if others have heard the same thing.

Although Europe is a quasi-socialist economic block, the intrinsic inefficiencies of socialism and centrally planned production might not be any bigger than the unbridled arrogance and hubris of American companies. It seems that, no matter where you go, people worship bureacracy in one form or other, eh? The U.S. is almost as socialist as Europe anyway, and, given that most Europeans are at least literate, and most Americans aren't, I'd be inclined to guess that Airbus will continue to increase market share.
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Old 4th Nov 2002, 23:41
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The yanks are a bit like the fuzziwuzzies - they don't like it up 'em!
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