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Airbus Curtails Production Of A380 Freight Superjumbo
Manufacturing.net ^ | 1 March 2007 | David Rising

Posted on 03/01/2007 12:56:24 PM PST by magellan

Financially troubled European airplane manufacturer Airbus has stopped work on the freight version of its new A380 superjumbo so it can focus more on the troubled passenger version of the aircraft, a spokesman for its parent company said Thursday.

"The work on the freight version of the A380 has just been temporarily cut off ... so that all capacities can be directed at the A380 passenger version," said Michael Hauger, spokesman for the European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co., in a telephone call from Munich.

Last week, United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) postponed taking delivery on the A380 freight version.

It was the last remaining customer for the freightliner, and UPS said it would decide later this year whether to move ahead with a plan to purchase 10 of the jets or cancel the order completely.

UPS originally ordered the 10 jets in January 2005, with options to buy 10 more in a deal valued at roughly $2.8 billion at list prices.

Airbus spokeswoman Ann de Crozals said the decision to postpone work on the A380F came after the UPS decision.

"Following the rescheduling with UPS, development work on the A380F has been interrupted but the program is still ongoing," de Crozals said. "It's not a decision to stop the program."

There is a new development schedule for the freight version A380F, Hauger said, adding that the company believes there is a sales potential for 400 models of the A380 freight aircraft in the next 20 years.

Toulouse, France-based Airbus is struggling to survive the crippling fallout from a two-year delay to the A380 and the weaker U.S. dollar – in which the planes are priced.

Airbus said Wednesday it would shed 4,300 jobs in France, 3,700 in Germany, 1,600 in Britain and 400 in Spain over four years.

De Crozals said no date had been set for work to resume on the freight version of the aircraft.

FedEx Corp. canceled its order for 10 A380s in November, saying Airbus's production problems were threatening its international expansion plans. Instead, it ordered 15 Boeing 777 freighters and options for 15 more in a deal valued at about $3.5 billion at list prices.


TOPICS: Business/Economy
KEYWORDS: a380; aerospace; airbus; airbust; boeing; whalejet
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Another setback for the WhaleJet(tm). My guess is there will never be a freighter version of l'éléphant blanc.
1 posted on 03/01/2007 12:56:28 PM PST by magellan
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To: magellan; Paleo Conservative

Magellan, I added the keyword "AEROSPACE" to your post.

Paleo: Other Shoe Dropping ping.


2 posted on 03/01/2007 12:58:12 PM PST by Yo-Yo (USAF, TAC, 12th AF, 366 TFW, 366 MG, 366 CRS, Mtn Home AFB, 1978-81)
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To: Yo-Yo

The Toulouse Goose is cooked.


3 posted on 03/01/2007 1:02:09 PM PST by Hydroshock (Duncan Hunter For President, checkout gohunter08.com.)
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To: magellan

stick a fork in them


4 posted on 03/01/2007 1:02:36 PM PST by paul51 (11 September 2001 - Never forget)
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To: magellan

If the problem was the wiring for the passenger compartment and entertainment systems and customer customization, it seems Airbus should be able to make frieghters instead, while these problems are ironed out.

Unless they have been lying all along. But that couldn't be true!


5 posted on 03/01/2007 1:17:46 PM PST by gridlock (Isn't it peculiar that matter what the problem, the government's solution is always "more taxes".)
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To: magellan
Typical of the mistaken decisions made by Airbus. While the Superjumbo passenger has little chance of ever becoming a viable airplane, the superfreight jet would have a good chance.

To be practical a passenger airplane the size of the Airbus needs many airfields into which it can operate. There are now only a few. The Superfreight version need only have a few airfields to land in since freight is typically distributed from central distribution point just like seaports.
6 posted on 03/01/2007 1:40:23 PM PST by R.W.Ratikal
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To: R.W.Ratikal

Maybe I'm thinking too much as a former engineer, but given the complexities of these planes, wouldn't it have been better to START with the freighter version? If they would have built the freighter first they could have resolved the airframe issues, flight controls, flight testing, etc., then moved to add the more complex interior modules that account for a large part of their wiring issues.

The Freighter version first would have built confidence into the manufacturing process as it minimized overall exposure.

Oh well - never mind.


7 posted on 03/01/2007 1:51:37 PM PST by Jambe ( Save the Cows ! -- Eat a Vegan !!!)
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To: Jambe

Obviously, a freighter would have been simpler to build.


8 posted on 03/01/2007 2:16:59 PM PST by Eric in the Ozarks (BTUs are my Beat.)
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To: Yo-Yo; magellan; COEXERJ145; microgood; liberallarry; cmsgop; shaggy eel; RayChuang88; ...

If you want on or off my aerospace ping list, please contact me by Freep mail.


9 posted on 03/01/2007 3:00:54 PM PST by Paleo Conservative
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To: gridlock
Airbus should be able to make frieghters instead

I don't doubt that they've had troubles with the wiring. But I think the real trouble is that it sucks down a lot more fuel than predicted.

10 posted on 03/01/2007 3:06:59 PM PST by narby
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To: Eric in the Ozarks; R.W.Ratikal
Obviously, a freighter would have been simpler to build.

There's ususally more mark up on passenger planes, and it would have used different landing gear and wings than the 800 model passenger version. I think what this also means is the A380-900 won't be built for at least a decade if ever, because it would share the heavier wing and landing gear with the A380-800F.

11 posted on 03/01/2007 3:10:55 PM PST by Paleo Conservative
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To: magellan

And how are A-400 sales going these days?


12 posted on 03/01/2007 3:52:28 PM PST by PAR35
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To: Jambe
The Freighter version first would have built confidence into the manufacturing process as it minimized overall exposure.

Naaah...it makes too much sense. ;^)

13 posted on 03/01/2007 3:59:52 PM PST by 6ppc (Call Photo Reuters, that's the name, and away goes truth right down the drain. Photo Reuters!)
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To: magellan

How long before UPS cancels their order?


14 posted on 03/01/2007 4:01:28 PM PST by Jorge
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To: Paleo Conservative
I think the 380 will become a curiosity, something like the Concorde. Seven or eight built, limited to certain locations, never profitable.
15 posted on 03/01/2007 4:24:05 PM PST by Eric in the Ozarks (BTUs are my Beat.)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
I think the 380 will become a curiosity, something like the Concorde. Seven or eight built, limited to certain locations, never profitable.

They'll build more than that, but they have to sell over 420 just to break even (according to their numbers) - probably double that to get a decent return on their investment. I wouldn't be surprised if the real numbers aer 500 and 1,000.

For perspective. Boeing didn't deliver its 500'th 747 till 1981 which was 12 years after the first one was delivered. The 1,000'th 747 was delivered in 1993, 24 years after the first delivery. If Boeing sells 500 747-8's both the freigher and passenger models, it will have been an enormous success. I wouldn't be surprised if ten years after the first 747-8 rolls off the line, Boeing announces it is developing Y-3, their replacement for the 777-300, 747-400, 747-8, and A380-800 based on technologies developed for the 787 and 737 replacement. Such a plane would be structurally much lighter than the A380 or 747 and have twin engines. The massive improvement in CASM and cost per ton mile would dry up orders for the A380 well before it reaches a rate of return on capital equal to US T-Bills.

16 posted on 03/01/2007 4:40:50 PM PST by Paleo Conservative
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To: Jorge; magellan
How long before UPS cancels their order?

Airbus must not be willing to return the deposit money originally put down on over 30 A300-600F's. The deposits were converted to 10 A380-800F's.

17 posted on 03/01/2007 4:43:51 PM PST by Paleo Conservative
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

Fact is, nobody seemed to *want* the A380-800F. There were some nibbles, but only UPS and FedEx committed, and FedEx backed out first. They've still got interest on the -800 passenger version from Middle Eastern and Asian airlines that want to use them on medium-length high-density routes, and Qantas. Not to mention, of course, the state-dominated European airlines that'll be forced to order some of the things to show solidarity.

I think it'll enter commercial service, and it'll probably be a mild "success"--a couple of hundred of them flying around for airlines like Emirates and Singapore. But at this point I don't see how they can ever hope to break even with it, if Paleo's figures are correct. It'll be a technological showpiece and one hell of a museum exhibit, but not a whole lot more.

}:-)4


18 posted on 03/01/2007 4:47:58 PM PST by Moose4 (I don't speed in Durham--if I get pulled for 65 in a 55, Mike Nifong'll have me doing 15 to life.)
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To: gridlock
Unless they have been lying all along. But that couldn't be true!

Wouldn't be the first time socialists/liberals told some
bald-face lies.
Something along the lines of "yes, it's a falsehood, but it
serves a greater truth".
19 posted on 03/01/2007 4:48:24 PM PST by VOA
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To: Paleo Conservative

If the entire A380 program ever needed a code name, I've got the perfect one:

"Hubris."

}:-)4


20 posted on 03/01/2007 4:49:19 PM PST by Moose4 (I don't speed in Durham--if I get pulled for 65 in a 55, Mike Nifong'll have me doing 15 to life.)
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To: Jambe
Maybe I'm thinking too much as a former engineer, but given the complexities of these planes, wouldn't it have been better to START with the freighter version?

You're thinking like an engineer instead of as a politician. It was a political decision from the git-go to build the Largest Passenger Aircraft in the World. Airbus let the political considerations over-ride the market research. But more seriously, it looks like they let them over-ride the engineering as well.

Building an A380 frieghter is not a superlative, because the Russians already have a larger frieghter in the air. It would not satisfy the political requirement.

21 posted on 03/01/2007 5:43:02 PM PST by gridlock (Isn't it peculiar that matter what the problem, the government's solution is always "more taxes".)
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To: Paleo Conservative
420 to break even ?
$10 says they don't build 50.
22 posted on 03/01/2007 6:44:36 PM PST by Eric in the Ozarks (BTUs are my Beat.)
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To: Moose4
I think it'll enter commercial service, and it'll probably be a mild "success"--a couple of hundred of them flying around for airlines like Emirates and Singapore.

Considering sales of 420 of them represents the break-even point, I wouldn't call a couple of hundred a success.

23 posted on 03/01/2007 6:46:45 PM PST by zipper
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To: magellan; Yo-Yo; gridlock; Hydroshock; paul51; R.W.Ratikal; Jambe; Eric in the Ozarks; microgood; ..
But,...but,.....

....WEIGHT A MINUTE!!

I jes' l-o-o-ve posting this graphic from Randy's Journal!

24 posted on 03/01/2007 6:49:30 PM PST by skeptoid (BS, AE, AA)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

I wouldn't be so quick to count it out. If you think it'll be cancelled after seven or eight aircraft are produced then you must not understand socialism. Socialistic processes are neither motivated nor demotivated by the presence or absence of profits.


25 posted on 03/01/2007 6:51:31 PM PST by zipper
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To: zipper

Success and failure don't matter when you have a tap on the veins of the European taxpayer. Airbus will get whatever it needs to insulate itself from the disasters of it's own making.

Of course the European taxpayer will get screwed. But they should be used to that by now.


26 posted on 03/01/2007 6:57:19 PM PST by gridlock (Isn't it peculiar that matter what the problem, the government's solution is always "more taxes".)
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To: zipper
Socialistic processes are neither motivated nor demotivated by the presence or absence of profits.

Airbus is a jobs program that makes aircraft on the side.

Now they aren't even doing very well at making jobs.

27 posted on 03/01/2007 6:58:48 PM PST by gridlock (Isn't it peculiar that matter what the problem, the government's solution is always "more taxes".)
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To: gridlock

Yes, and we haven't seen the end of it. There will be additional problems created by the restless workers as they protest the "Power 8" restructuring plan.


28 posted on 03/01/2007 7:12:56 PM PST by zipper
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To: gridlock

Oh, wait -- I have an idea -- decrease the French work week from 35 hours to 30 hours. That'll create jobs, making up for all the layoffs!

/sarc


29 posted on 03/01/2007 7:14:47 PM PST by zipper
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To: zipper

Break-even never has to be a concern at Airbust. Its a socialist job creation program that builds airplanes on the side.
Here is how it works:

Depending on how much tax-payer money each country provides (Spain, France, UK, and Germany) for the planes development costs heavily dictates how many jobs are handed out for the planes manufacturing and assembly. (example: The UK donated a big chunk towards the R&D costs for the A380 so it got the manufacturing of wings at its UK factory)
Then when planes are delivered (remember that Airbust doesn't get paid until each plane is delivered), a portion of that revenue is supposedly paid back to the governments who put up the original subsides. This system also means a lot of politics is involved in the running of the company. Governments will have alot of say in matters like job cuts, pay, benefits, pensions, where what gets built, etc...

This is the complete opposite of how Boeing operates were they are not provided any subsides by the US government to fund the R&D for its commercial aircraft division. Boeing has to count on delivering planes to break even / generate profit on its development investment.

Airbusts economic model only works when you have a successful plane with a steady flow of orders and the planes are being delivered to customers on time and on budget. But when you end up with something like the A380, that means its questionable if the governments that put up the money for its development will ever recoup their investment and now . Your talking about billions of dollars down the drain where Airbust is now saying they will have to sell over 400 A380's just to break even, but we all know that number is going to be a lot higher.


30 posted on 03/01/2007 7:55:05 PM PST by Proud_USA_Republican (We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good. - Hillary Clinton)
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To: Moose4
They've still got interest on the -800 passenger version from Middle Eastern and Asian airlines that want to use them on medium-length high-density routes

That means the Hajj, I think.

I had a pal who flew some Hajj charters. He landed MD-11's in some of the most backward Muslim hellholes in the world, on airstrips I'd be afraid to use in a DC-3. Then they packed in every smelly ignorant goatherd for miles around, flew them all to Mecca, and back a week or so later.

The week of downtime was spent in a Dubai hot tub with Swedish stewardesses, so I guess that part was OK.

Not OK is when the hajis try to start a fire in the aisle of the aircraft to cook the live chicken they brought on board in a crate; this apprently happened a time or two.

31 posted on 03/01/2007 8:02:15 PM PST by ccmay (Too much Law; not enough Order.)
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To: ccmay
I've heard stories of the attempted cooking of the the chicken in the isle of a jet. The instance that comes to mind was when the Israelis were rescuing oppressed Jews from tyrannical Arab countries.
32 posted on 03/01/2007 8:11:54 PM PST by fontoon
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To: ccmay

Supposedly, the in-flight fire that claimed the lives of over 300 people onboard a Saudi Arabian L-1011 many years ago, heading from Riyadh to Jeddah, was caused by just what you said--somebody cooking with a campstove or Sterno or something in the middle of the aisle. (That's a persistent rumor, anyway, I'm not sure if it's fact.) The crew detected a fire in an aft cargo area and were then told there was a fire in the rear cabin. The saddest part was that the deaths were preventable--for unknown reasons, the captain ordered the attendants NOT to evacuate the passengers upon landing, and when he did land, he didn't stop immediately on the runway--he taxiied off the runway like normal and didn't shut the engines down for three minutes. Between a lack of knowledge of the L-1011's emergency exits, and the fire, it took firefighters at the airport TWENTY-THREE MINUTES to get inside the cabin after landing. Everybody, including the flight crew, died.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saudia_Flight_163

}:-)4


33 posted on 03/01/2007 8:16:29 PM PST by Moose4 (I don't speed in Durham--if I get pulled for 65 in a 55, Mike Nifong'll have me doing 15 to life.)
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To: Moose4
Good Lord . . .

“Each member of the flight crew had a history of learning difficulties. The captain had a record of suboptimal decision making through his career. The First Officer failed his training program, was inexperienced with the L-1011, and did not attempt to assist the captain. The Flight Engineer was thought to be dyslexic and was frequently confusing left and right side.”

34 posted on 03/01/2007 8:31:21 PM PST by dighton
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To: Proud_USA_Republican

The sad thing is, if a company like McDonnell Douglas bets big and loses, the company busts and people move on. But when France or Germany bets big and loses, they don't go bust, because they can just keep tapping the taxpayer to cover any loss. So lessons are never learned, and disfunctional organizations are allowed to create mayhem, over and over again.

If you think the A380 is a CF, just wait until the A350XWB gets close to launch...


35 posted on 03/02/2007 4:37:56 AM PST by gridlock (Isn't it peculiar that matter what the problem, the government's solution is always "more taxes".)
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To: narby

I think the real problem is that it sucks.


36 posted on 03/02/2007 4:59:58 AM PST by appeal2 (R)
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To: Paleo Conservative

The numbers are way higher. If they sell 100 units I would be shocked. This is a big loser in many ways.


37 posted on 03/02/2007 5:02:32 AM PST by appeal2 (R)
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To: skeptoid

LOL, yup, I've posted that a time or two myself. Airbust counters that the gross tonage may not be that much better than the 747-8F, but the number of containers it can carry is 50% more.

The A380F is built to carry volume, not weight, which only appeals to a few package shipping companies, such as FedEx and UPS. Airbust still claims a lifetime demand for 400 freighters, but I say they will maybe eventually revive the 10 for FedEx and 10 for UPS in another decade or so, but not much more.


38 posted on 03/02/2007 6:04:52 AM PST by Yo-Yo (USAF, TAC, 12th AF, 366 TFW, 366 MG, 366 CRS, Mtn Home AFB, 1978-81)
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To: magellan
A little A350 Flashback. I dare you not to laugh as you read this. I love the part that says, "The A380 confirms Airbus' status as "one of the most beautiful pages in the book of French and European industrial history,"



Airbus launches production of A380
Toulouse: Airbus on Friday officially launched production of its A380, the biggest ever commercial airliner, stepping up its challenge to Boeing which has staked its future on a new mid-sized jet. During a ceremony attended by French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, Airbus unveiled the first fuselage at its new $435 million assembly plant near the southern city of Toulouse. The 545-acre site will receive sections of the aircraft built by Airbus workers in France, Germany, the UK and Spain and transported to Toulouse on specially constructed ships, river barges and trucks. The A380 confirms Airbus' status as "one of the most beautiful pages in the book of French and European industrial history," Raffarin told about 3,000 assembled VIP guests and Airbus workers. Company executives said a combination of limited global runway capacities and steady growth in demand for air travel promised a rosy future for the A380. The 555-seat A380 will carry more passengers than the industry's current largest commercial aircraft, the Boeing 747, making better use of precious takeoff and landing slots as well as fuel, flight crew and other resources when it enters service for Singapore Airlines in 2006. The A380 carries a price tag of $280 million. Apart from the first fuselage--to be used exclusively for ground-based testing--the first complete A380 is set to roll off the assembly line in July. Airbus senior vice president Gerard Blanc claimed that the A380 programme had "petrified" Boeing. "They tried to react, but they couldn't," he said. As Airbus was firming up the launch of the A380 programme in 2000, garnering pledges from airlines to buy the aircraft, Boeing had yet to decide on its broader civil aviation strategy. Boeing twice announced and then scrapped plans for new aircraft--first the 747X, and later an elaborate supersonic high-altitude jet, the Sonic Cruiser. It eventually settled for the 7E7, a fuel-efficient mid-sized jet whose launch was confirmed a week ago with a 50-aircraft order from All Nippon Airways. The aircraft is not expected to enter service before 2008 and will accommodate about 200-300 passengers. Boeing hopes the future of air travel lies in direct point-to-point services, as traffic grows and customers increasingly spurn the time-consuming detours and changeovers caused by airlines channeling passengers through hub airports on their way to their ultimate destinations. Airbus, on the other hand, is betting that the hub-and-spoke network model still has a long and happy future. Executive vice president Charles Champion said Friday that almost all of the 11 airlines that have so far placed 129 firm orders for the A380 plan to use the aircraft only on major hub-to-hub routes. Among A380 customers are Air France, Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, Virgin Atlantic Airways and Qantas. Champion also made it clear that Airbus has designs on the Japanese market, traditionally loyal to Boeing. Airbus has given Japanese companies a sizeable chunk of the A380 work. "We've established a strong footprint in Japan with the A380," he said. "Now the challenge for us is to materialize that footprint into market share." Champion reiterated Airbus' goal of adding one new A380 customer on average every year as it moves toward the 250 sales needed to break even. But he played down the importance of achieving that ambition this year. With a "hefty order book" to work on, he said, "the issue today is to find (production) slots for our customers rather than to find new customers for open slots."
The Air Letter Edition: 15486 Date: 11 May, 2004
39 posted on 03/02/2007 6:11:13 AM PST by NavyCanDo
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To: appeal2

It's already sold over 150 units but not without launch discount pricing. You may be correct though about addtional undiscounted sales.


40 posted on 03/02/2007 6:15:31 AM PST by Paleo Conservative
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To: ccmay

LOLOL. DC-3's need an airfield?


41 posted on 03/02/2007 6:29:00 AM PST by patton (Sanctimony frequently reaps its own reward.)
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To: Jambe

True, but we are talking about European egos here.


42 posted on 03/02/2007 6:41:22 AM PST by Redleg Duke (Heaven is home...I am just TDY here!)
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To: gridlock

just wait until the A350XWB gets close to launch...

They will have over 7 years to reverse engineer the entire 787. If they can't produce something better given that advantage, they are toast.


43 posted on 03/02/2007 9:04:40 AM PST by Proud_USA_Republican (We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good. - Hillary Clinton)
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To: Proud_USA_Republican

Then they are toast. I don't think they can do it.


44 posted on 03/02/2007 9:11:24 AM PST by gridlock (Isn't it peculiar that no matter what the problem, the government's solution is always "more taxes")
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To: Paleo Conservative
The problem with a conventional fuselage airplane like the A-380 and the 747 is developing jet engines that size and fitting it under the wings... and the trust that is needed.
I am not saying it's impossible, just very difficult to do.
45 posted on 03/02/2007 1:57:23 PM PST by Prophet in the wilderness (PSALM 53 : 1 The FOOL hath said in his heart , There is no GOD .)
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To: Prophet in the wilderness

Opps... I meant,,, developing a twin engine plane like the size of the A-380 , 747


46 posted on 03/02/2007 2:01:00 PM PST by Prophet in the wilderness (PSALM 53 : 1 The FOOL hath said in his heart , There is no GOD .)
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To: Prophet in the wilderness
The problem with a conventional fuselage airplane like the A-380 and the 747 is developing jet engines that size and fitting it under the wings... and the trust that is needed.
I am not saying it's impossible, just very difficult to do.

But that will probably happen within the next 15 years. the GE90-115 has been tested at 130,000 pounds of thrust. It will probably take an engine with at least 150,000 pounds of thrust for a twin engined CFRP 747 replacement. It will come out a long time before the A380 gets the desired rate of return for Airbus. Also, if Boeing were to develop a 747 sized blended wing body composite aircraft, its possible they might be able to be able to mount three engines in the rear. This would eliminate the necessity of developing a very large engine that would have a demand for a very low number of units.


47 posted on 03/02/2007 2:08:30 PM PST by Paleo Conservative
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To: magellan

Thank you, UPS for sticking it into them and breaking it off!
Go Boeing!!!!!!
USA! USA! USA! USA!


48 posted on 03/02/2007 2:09:11 PM PST by Riptides
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To: magellan

It never made sense for FedEx or UPS in the first place. I have no idea what they were thinking buying an airplane that takes until after 1030 am just to unlosd, maybe currying favor with Airbus at the time in regard to other issues (FedEx flies a lot of A310's)?


49 posted on 03/02/2007 2:14:40 PM PST by cookcounty (How odd. Lee Hamilton now employed by Sandy Berger: stonebridge-international.com)
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To: NavyCanDo

The part about Boeing being petrified is pretty funny. Hey, guess what, Air bus, Boeing can deliver their jets on time!


50 posted on 03/02/2007 6:54:57 PM PST by Mr. Silverback ("Logic" is as meaningless to a liberal as "desert" is to a fish.--Freeper IronJack)
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