a reply to: Zaphod58
10 years ago, I'd be seriously worried about the future of the A320NEO project.
But after watching the 787's far worse developmental teething problems work themselves out as beautifully as they did, I'm convinced that the big two,
and any civil projects within them, are literally too big to fail.
Both the 787 and the NEO are the most advanced aircraft ever attempted in their respective market segments, and they've both been dogged by major
delays in their respective developments (though the 787 still wins that one so far, exploding Li-ion batteries and all). Back in 2008-2010, I was
eagerly trumpeting the idea that the 787 was a developmental disaster on par with the MD-11 and would be Boeing's downfall within the 767/A300/A330's
segment, and boy, have I eaten some major crow on that one.
The reality, at least as far as I'm convinced, is that airline executives have short, short memories when it comes to new hardware, and tend to focus
in the moment on the economics of a given platform (from Airbus or Boeing, at least) rather than how rocky that platform's development may have
Fast forward to 2016, and despite its considerable struggles during development, the 787 currently has enough backorders to keep its lines running
well into the 2020s. It's been a phenomenal success, and the double-digit fuel economy improvements that it offers have been enough to create
entirely new routings and business models (such as Norwegian Air Shuttle's long-distance budget service) that didn't exist even 5 years ago.
Qatar may drop the A320Neo for the 737Max, just as some carriers purchased A330's instead of 787's, but at the end of the day, Lufthansa's fuel burn
numbers will mean far, far more to airline executives 6 months to a year from now than the Qatar order ever did, and someone, SOMEONE will be eyeing
all that excess A320Neo production capacity and will place a phone call to Toulouse looking to make a deal.
At least, that's how I'm convinced things are working these days...