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Dec 1, 2012

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The controversy over the Airbus ‘Pinocchio ad’ attacking Boeing for telling lies over its 737 MAX airliner is blazing away in the US, much to the amusement or disgust of some commentators abroad.

One of the most interesting, and entertaining,  overviews has been this one from Scott Hamilton in Leeham News and Comment here.

Among Hamilton’s ‘random thoughts’ are these:

  • The new outbreak of ad wars between Airbus and Boeing is viewed largely with eye-rolling and disdain that two world-class companies are behaving like two year olds, and
  • Nobody, but nobody we talked with believes the public numbers advanced by either Airbus or Boeing.

The more serious issue of course is that no-one believes what the spin doctors pump out to the more gullible media, or for the use of the political lobbies in the US and Europe where aircraft making is a perpetual hot topic for governments and economists.

That disbelief is probably the strongest in the managements of large airlines that are acutely aware of the need to screw the best possible deal out of Airbus or Boeing whenever the opportunity arises.

Read down Hamilton’s list and you come to the more sensitive matter as to whether or not Boeing was smart to continue to offer only the new engine technology of  the French-American consortium CFM International, the LEAP X design, on the 737 MAX, while Airbus offers that or the American Pratt & Whitney GTF or geared turbo fan option on its competing A320NEO series.

If as Hamilton suggests, the LEAP X don’t leap like it ought to, and perchance the GTF does what it promises to do, Boeing and 737 MAX customers like Virgin Australia and SilkAir, part of the Singapore Airlines group, all have a very big problem.

However it is early days, and I doubt that 737 MAX buyers would be unduly concerned about this, beyond  prudently including the forfeiture of Boeing’s reproductive organs in the conditions of sale agreements, as they do, at least around here, for both Boeing and Airbus.

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands has reported and analysed the mechanical mobility of humanity since late 1960 - the end of the age of great scheduled ocean liners and coastal steamers and the start of the jet age. He’s worked in newspapers, radio and TV in a wide range of roles as a journalist at home and abroad for 56 years, the last 18 freelance.

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