December 15, 2005


Flying High: How Boeing cut short Airbus's rule as king of the skies. (James Thayer, 12/15/2005, Weekly Standard)

EUROPE WAS CROWING, and it could be heard all the way across the ocean.

Airbus called Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner "dreaming in Seattle," and Airbus's then-CEO Noel Forgard dismissed the 787 as a "Chinese copy of [Airbus's] A330." The BBC said Airbus had stolen the march on its arc-rival Boeing, and the Economist predicted Airbus's A380 super-jumbo would "break the 747's longstanding monopoly on the big-jet market." Airbus's sales chief John J. Leahy said Boeing was ''just flailing around looking for something to compete with us.''

Indeed, 12 months ago Airbus seemed about to permanently replace the Boeing Company as the world's dominant airplane producer. It never happened. Instead, Airbus's ambitions have suddenly skidded off the runway.

Who'd have dreamt that a French plane that can't land anywhere wouldn't succeed?

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 15, 2005 3:26 PM

I used to deflate my European colleagues' balloons about the A380 by having them imagine what it would be like when the Narita-Detroit and Amsterdam-Detroit flights arrive simultaneously (a common occurance). Currently getting 600 or so passengers off the planes, through immigration, through baggage claim, through customs, through domestic security and on to their domestic flights is a complete zoo. "Now triple the zoo", I would say. One could cut the gloom with a knife.

And don't call me Shirley.

Posted by: jeff at December 15, 2005 3:47 PM

Maybe GM's management is moonlighting at Airbus.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at December 15, 2005 5:20 PM

Who? The same people who built an aircraft carrier that the prop fell off.

Posted by: Genecis at December 15, 2005 5:46 PM

the planes can land vertically, anywhere...after the tail section falls off.

Posted by: toe at December 15, 2005 5:52 PM

It can't land? Then they should be able to sell dozens to Al Qaeda, don't ya think?

Posted by: obc at December 15, 2005 7:58 PM

I thought we were all supposed to be flying around in jet cars and living in cities on the moon by now anyway. Stupid science.

Posted by: Amos at December 15, 2005 7:59 PM

Chris - Worse - Renault's.

Posted by: Mike Beversluis at December 15, 2005 8:26 PM

Failure of a european project based on massive consolidation, replacement of existing infrastructure, and inconvience for the individual?

The A380 is indeed a perfect metaphor for The European Project.

Posted by: Mike Earl at December 15, 2005 9:51 PM

Ironically, only a (stereotypical) American would have made a "national champion" out of arrogant, fuel-guzzling, ostentatious gargantuanism. Oops, wrong plane...

Posted by: MGNC at December 16, 2005 7:11 AM