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How Bad is Airliner Industry Economy?

Ask Airbus.

An AP story says that the value of Airbus's new orders, "...dropped by nearly 49 percent in 2002 as airlines bought fewer planes amid a global aviation slump."

Revenues dropped just 5% (to $21.1 billion), perhaps giving a glimpse of the level of financial commitment a customer must make, in order for Airbus to book an order. Reflecting the deep discounting that permeated Airbus's order book last year (as well as a shift in the mix, with no A380 orders' received), the AP said that orders were down 15%, from 274 to 233.

The fledgling military A400M (below) program, facing either extinction or huge cost overruns due to certain nations' reneging on pledged orders, was not addressed in the report.

AP did, though, note that, while the 2001 order numbers were helped by the A380, that super-behemoth didn't play a part in 2002's numbers. The 85 launch-year orders are a long way from the 1800 or so that Airbus was predicting just three years ago, however.

Bright spot in the EADS constellation was Eurocopter; the Ariane program's financials are best not talked about.

FMI: www.airbus.com

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