“The delays are not caused by bungling or production glitches,” EADS CEO Louis Gallois is quoted as saying at the 2011 International Paris-Le Bourget Air Show (http://www.paris-air-show.com/). “The A350 is the best-managed program at Airbus by far and the program is under control. This is not about delays but about improvements in the program.”
Airbus executives decided to delay by one year the new Airbus 350-1000 airliner’s entry into service—to their own peril, according to some aviation industry pundits.
The delays were intended to infuse the A350-1000 with improved range, fuel efficiency, payload capacity—and, as a result, better enable the Airbus 350-1000 to compete with the Boeing 777-300ER. The 350-1000 has 15 fewer seats than the 365-seat 777-300ER, but has a longer range and lower fuel consumption thanks to an enhanced version of the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB aircraft engine, according to Airbus—yet, some aviation industry pundits disagree.
Etihad Airways—an Abu Dhabi state-owned airline, and the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—cancelled orders for seven A350-1000 aircraft earlier this month. This month’s cancellation follows a previous cut of six airplanes in December 2011; Etihad Airways’ entire order of 25 A350-1000 was cut to less than half—just 12 airliners.
In the meantime, Boeing is taking all the lessons learned with the (egregious) delays of its 787 Dreamliner and using them to build a next-generation 777—and attempt to dominate both the single-aisle and wide-body airliner markets.
This geek understands delays are nearly inevitable when building a complex machine such a jet but delays can provide your compittion more time to release a smarter, faster, and greener aircraft.