Saturday, February 28, 2015

Qatars A350 finds Ground Hog Day

So much so, its lead henchman, Al Baker is on a business trip today making cover for its not yet delivered 2nd A350.

Arabian AeroSpace:

"Qatar’s CEO Akbar Al Baker is in Berlin next week for the ITB, the world’s largest travel and tourism show where is expected to reveal initial operating data for the A350 and to advertise the arrival of the second aircraft. - See more at:

http://www.arabianaerospace.aero/qatar-set-to-speed-up-service-entry-for-delayed-second-a350.html#sthash.0LZnnU0N.dpuf

It was announced for February 17, 2015 delivery but in Boeing-esque style the plane simply is not ready for Qatar today. Should someone worry, "Nah"? Its built and has tires to roll on and fly. Akbar Al Baker is doing his due diligence at ITB.

Let me give homage to the ground hog on February's last day. "Haven't we been here before?" The do-over is an uncanny salute for the groundhog's  big day. Airbus has two A350 out in over two and a half months. Very Boeing like during its own last three months during 2011 when it delivered three 787's amongst all the mad dashing on the Everett plant floor. The French version is letting Al Baker go to IBT with a shrug. Let the Airbus sales team unleash a barrage of hyperbole. As Qatar face slapped Lufthansa a few times when it remarked, "The Qatar A350 is better than Lufthansa stuff". "Hey wait a minute Lufthansa ordered some A350's too." Its Airbus IBS going on here so take an antacid Qatar and go to IBT.

The operating data is what brought the conferees to IBT. Its how Al Baker couches the data that will cause Boeing some response. Al Baker is not necessarily deferring over to Airbus as a sole fan for the A350 but he too likes center stage so he has purposed the A350 in some of its most glamorous locations like Frankfurt which is very near where Lufthansa operates. Coincidence, I think not, Because he has already taken exception to Lufthansa fleet by calling inferior to Qatar's fleet having the A350 as the example in the Lufthansa market. Interesting who this premier Middle East carrier is going after in a market segment with such language towards a competitor. Its not anti Boeing but a anti Lufthansa sentiment. Could it be over all those 777X's Lufthansa ordered? Or is it something else up Al Bakers sleeve?

The whole A350 delivery delay and IBT meeting will smoke out more details concerning this Qatar chapter. Its more much ado about nothing marketing in play. A larger game board comes out on how much loads into aircraft interiors. The Boeing efficiency vs Airbus customer space is in play as Airbus says it can stuff the bus with more passenger amenity. Saying its greater than the 787 family of Aircraft. Qatar went with the 787-8 early even though it was not an aircraft suitable for Qatar space grandeur. Now they have the A350 which has started bumping the Boeing 787's over to less glamorous routes. What all this means is Qatar pride focuses on the best show in the air. Not necessarily the best airplane for the task. However, the 777-X has not played out in the market place which would be more suitable for Qatar sensibilities where Qatar ordered 50 of its type.