Thu, Jul 06, 2006
Some Say Manufacturer Could Share Late Planemaker's Fate
We've said it before...
it's not easy being Airbus right now. In the past two years the
European consortium has gone from being at the top of the heap...
to facing a heap of problems with its A350 and A380 programs.
But that's the nature of the beast, right? Most analysts think
Airbus is bound to come back... especially given the history of
cyclical rises and declines in the commercial aviation market.
Still... the Seattle Times reports there's a growing number of
industry insiders who worry Airbus may be on the way to becoming an
"afterthought"... a niche manufacturer, similar to McDonnell
Douglas at the end of the last century.
You may recall what happened to that company. Once the world's
biggest aircraft maker, towards the end McDonnell-Douglas fielded
but two models -- the short range MD-88, and the long range MD-11.
It also failed to invest in new aircraft development.
Now, Airbus has by no means reached that point yet... but the
planemaker did concede Wednesday, for the first time ever, that it
has given up the annual sales crown for this year to Boeing...
which so far is outpacing the European company by a factor of 3 to
1 in new plane orders.
That's not reason alone to give up on Airbus... but if the
manufacturer's rumored A350 replacement turns out to be a trijet,
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