Monday, December 15, 2014

Delta Dithers An Airbus Order Forward

Delta claims Boeing couldn’t put slots together soon enough suiting its growth mapping. Boeing could conversely say options exists and slot did exists where Delta could of planned better, taking advantage of optimum opportunity for new equipment. The argument continues from Delta, they are exacting on five year plan time-lines, where by happen chance, Delta was out of phase with Boeing’s own production timing, and Boeing could not supply Delta during its window of buying. No matter what happened Delta bought Airbus’ less preforming A330 and the not quite equivalent A350 in place of either the 787-9 or 7779X.

Whatever the Delta reason, they were bent on its own plans no matter what the airline manufacturer had in play at that moment. That to me smells of poor planning when you have years of managing a buy. Delta did not manage its buy, and got stuck with an inferior Airbus package under the guise with its A330 and A350 package.

Why do I say that! Because the metrics aren’t there when comparing aircraft performance. The A330 NEO is a knee jerk golf lay-up when comparing it with the 787. The 787 family flies further carries more people even if you have to wait eight years for delivery. Delta should have split the strategy by leasing the A330 NEO, until it obtained the 787. It should have ordered the 777X’s in number while there is still a front of the line. They have put themselves 20 years back on even considering the 777X with its A350 order, as it attempted a lay-up shot against the “on the green Boeing shot”. 

Conservative, and oh so clever financial minds prevailed in the board-room. The ”we can get by with the order, and on time with Airbus”, committee prevailed. Airbus said, “We are just better”, one more time, even though it was another defaulted order from Boeings large order book. Order book parity is approaching between Airbus and Boeing. Boeing productivity is running the roost, however. Boeing may get to delivery slots sooner rather rathr than later inspite of what Airbus says.

Airbus has yet to ramp up A350 production. It has yet to build the A330-NEO. Airbus is confident on the NEO since it just an airplane make-over. That will take two years at least. In the meantime, Boeing will have produced and delivered 240 more 787’s, dropping its order book backlog lower than the Airbus A350 backlog. It will be producing its first 777X prototypes by 2017. Delta knew these conditions. They looked at Boeing order book sequence. It was aware of 12 available 787 slots, where in two more years more slots could develop. It seemed like Delta bent its vision anyways, with board-room momentum of self-assurance. A decision like this is not for the next five years, but the next twenty years before a board would consider any fleet reversals towards another manufacturer. Airbus strategy is one of flipping fleets guaranteeing follow-on orders for years to come. Boeing is aware of this and was caught with its production slot pants down. This happens at times, during the normal course of all moving parts from R&D, production and sales, Boeing was caught short. 

Unfortunately it was Delta this time. Airbus gained crowing points when it essentially had a slower order book to merit this order, and not better aircraft.