Boeing and Airbus: Do or Die…

As some of you already know, Boeing has been very successful with its latest aircraft, the 787. Airbus is struggling to come up with a true competitor to this new aircraft. The A350 has not generated that much interest from airlines around the world as the 787 has. The Paris Air Show is coming closer and every aviation enthusiast as well as every aviation expert is discussing about what we all can expect fro Boeing and Airbus.

With Boeing launching a new aircraft and the first all-composite commercial aircraft, the 787, Boeing has given hints that it will launch a complete new aircraft family based on the technologies used on the 787. Boeing is currently studying a new 747 model under the name 747 Advanced. Also going around in the press these days is the hype around a 737/A320 replacement aircraft with Boeing being rumored to be studying a new 737/A230 replacement aircraft behind the curtains. Boeing has said in the past it will base all its new aircraft on the technologies used on the 787. This would give Boeing a lead over its arch-rival, Airbus. It will take Boeing minimal investment in a complete new family of aircraft once the 787 truly proves its money’s worth. Once proven, the door opens to Boeing to offer a new family of aircraft, from narrowbody aircraft to widebody aicraft, from short-medium range aircraft to ultra-long range aircraft. Airbus has launched the A380 with the first flight already completed. The A350 is Airbus’s answer to the 787. Airbus has only received 10 commitments for the proposed A350, while Boeing has already received 200+ orders for its 787. Up until now the 787 has showed us that this aircraft is clearly the aircraft of choice to a lot of (key) airlines. Airlines are starting to see the benefits of more composites in aircraft and Boeing is currently showing the way. Airbus who before the 787 was known for being the leader in the usage of composite materials in its aircraft is now seeing its market rapidly diminishing with Boeing gaining more ground and popularity with the 787. The thought of Boeing coming with an entire range of new aircraft, does give one the right to say that Airbus must be very worried at the moment and must go back to the drawing boards and brainstorm about the direction in which Airbus wants to go in the coming years.

With Boeing slowly winning back its marketshare from Airbus and the possibility of launching a new 737/A320 replacement aircraft, Airbus has a reason to be worried about its own line of aircraft. Airbus has been very successful with its A320 aircraft family. If Boeing will announce a 737/A320 sized aircraft with 787 technologies, this may hurt Airbus in a bigger way than we might think. Airbus might see their marketshare drop significantly if they don’t come up with a new aircraft design to compete with Boeing’s new products. Airbus may well be in its own dilemma and must determine whether the A350 will be its next ‘attack’ on Boeing or whether a complete new A320NG will be a better move for Airbus. Both these aircraft types are strategically seen as crucial aircraft for the future airline markets. Aircraft in these ranges are the next focus points for many airlines around the world. How this all will play out, will be something worth paying attention to. One thing is sure, the Paris Air Show promises to be the best air show in a very long time with both Boeing and Airbus wanting to be at their best and showing their muscles. We should all pay close attention to Airbus and Boeing and what may lie ahead of us and the commercial aviation industry….

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