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Nov 27, 2012

Uh oh! Airbus jabs Boeing with ad that looks like a Canberra caricature

Airbus loses its cool with Boeing over allegedly misleading claims, and borrows it seems from the art of Australian political caricature

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Disclaimer: The current smear campaign against Julia Gillard is an abuse of the patience and expectations of thinking people of any political persuasion

Airbus has lost its cool with Boeing over claims that its 737 MAX series will be better than its A320 NEO series.

In a disconcertingly similar caricature to those regularly directed at the PM the European aircraft maker has hit, make that pierced, the US aviation media with an ad in which a Boeing 737 has grown a Pinocchio style nose.

The Airbus ad, as published by Bloomberg, no higher definition available

In this delicately balanced report Bloomberg says both manufacturers game their statistics in at times dubious ways.

As an observer of such claims over many, many years, it is also worth asking why Airbus and Boeing ever play the game, since there wouldn’t be an airline of size on the planet that would take advice or be in any way influenced as to the competitive advantages of any airliner from public or technical media reports.

In terms of airline needs, there are always going to be Airbuses and Boeings that are better or worse than their nearest equivalent for a particular carrier, because of the matrix of critical factors which varies from carrier to carrier and route to route.

Such decisions are based on tightly argued issues, including in no particular order, finance, price, relevant range/payload performance, and such unique issues as how a particular airframe will handle the long taxiways at a particular airport, or the gate sizes at a major hub, as well as past experiences with product support and reliability, and how well the aircraft are actually assembled in terms of quality and tolerances.

It’s not about Carlton v Collingwood, or Ford v Holden, or given the tenor of the Airbus ad, Celtic v Rangers.

It’s about what machine does the job best for each unique set of needs, and it is telling that the aircraft leasing companies, who these days own at least 40% of the airliners being made, make sure they have plenty of the most popular airliners, the 737s and A320s, on their books.

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