It seems to be standard operating procedure for Airline Manufacturers to go to big airshow and aviation industry events to sell aircraft. This works great and they take order galore, but the problem with taking orders and you’ve probably seen this at Starbucks, is that once you take the orders, you have to produce the product, so the customers line up again and wait. When it’s busy, they wait and wait, and wait. So much for a quick Latte to go, so, what does this have to do with airliner manufacturing you ask?
Well, both Airbus and Boeing now have aircraft orders well into the future, for some models, 7-years in advance. If you study the industry much, the landscape changes a lot in 7-years, and soon these manufacturers will have orders spanning a decade. Think about that? An aircraft order taken in 2014 at the Paris Airshow could potentially not be delivered until 2024 – no, it’s not that bad yet, but it is getting there.
There was an interesting article in Manufacturing (dot) net not long ago titled; “Airbus Logs Record 2013, But Still Behind Boeing,” by Jamey Keaton, reposted from the Associated Press. Often the AP stories are fairly jaded toward propaganda, and the stories written by writers in the semi-employ of those organizations they promote. My take on Airbus aircraft deliveries is not one of praise, but one of questionable business practices.
It is pretty disingenuous for Airbus to hyper-sell aircraft and take orders at the current rate when it cannot even deliver anywhere near what it has already promised – in any other industry – that would be considered fraud. And yet, there executives do the PR campaign road show in their suits and ties and take credit for their greatness when in reality their performance is substandard on the business manufacturing end. Not very impressive and pretty pathetic if you ask me – still, the gap between sales and deliveries expands – what about customer trust?
What about new materials, what about new propulsion technology, better designs, what about blended wing bodied aircraft, what about our hypersonic transportation future? What about point to point personal flying craft? What about the combination of all these technological breakthroughs? What about airlines which may no longer be in business or the future airlines which will come into existence? Where are all the aircraft going to come from, I ask? This is about the only industry I can think of that gets away with this strategy. Please consider all this and think on it.