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Airbus - a case against government intervention in corporations?

  1. Mar 22, 2007 #1
    I have seen many topics on this forum about how the influence of private interests has made a mess in Washington. If the below article is to be believed, Airbus is an example of how government interests can make a mess of a private company (and in a case like this, I use the term "private" loosely).


    I don't think the author is entirely unbiased, and I don't agree with his overwhelming pessimism on the outlook of Airbus, but I do think his facts are correct:

    -engineers in Germany did not use the same software as their French counterparts, causing a two-year delay in the A380, order cancellations, massive monetary losses, plant closures, workforce cuts and sparking an international blame game

    -at one point early in the history of Airbus, French prime minister Lionel Jospin threatened to block the merger of two firms in the consortium unless the French government was allowed to buy a 15 percent stake

    -DaimlerChrysler representatives blocked CEO Louis Gallois' proposals, demanding that Germany get a larger workshare on the A350, forcing Gallois to cancel movement of wing work from Germany to Britain (which would have cut costs) and making it up to Britain by retention of British production that would have been moved to cheaper suppliers

    -Gallois also caved to German pressure to open a second A320 line in Hamburg, decreasing production efficiency

    -the current French presidential race has generated "hands-on" rhetoric from both Royal and Sarkozy, angering DaimlerChrysler, which had sold a stake to France only after the assurance that French politics would not result in strategic decisions

    -Noël Forgeard, CEO of Airbus during the wiring problems, was once Jacques Chirac's political advisor; Chirac backed Forgeard during the wiring upheaval

    Overall, it seems that no new idea can go forward without consultation with all the national interests (French, British, German and Spanish, among others). According to Jean Pierson, former CEO of Airbus, this proved workable when the company was not centralized, where one partner could not "hold out" for long in a confrontation with the other three. The movement to a single company, however, now necessitates that decisions must balance the needs of the partner countries. Before, a partner stood to lose the most if it confronted the consortium. Today, the whole company loses.

    What are your thoughts on the Airbus fiasco? Was it a mistake to tie together the economic, political and nationalist ambitions of four countries?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 22, 2007 #2
    Fiasco? :confused:

    It's flying now isn't it? :confused:
    The biggest commercial plane in the world!

    A project of this complexity obviously does not go without big problems.

    But for now, kudos to Airbus for reaching the next level in aviation!

    These are my thoughts!
  4. Mar 22, 2007 #3
    Airjunk...I mean airbus....:rolleyes:

    Give me an American made Boeing anyday. :biggrin:

    I hope airbus goes bust and Boeing wins the day.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2007
  5. Mar 22, 2007 #4
    Jealousy anyone? :biggrin:
  6. Mar 22, 2007 #5
    Actually no. I honestly think that new airjunk looks ugggggglay.

    I like the boeing 737 :!!) Beautiful airplane.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2007
  7. Mar 22, 2007 #6
    I would agree, same goes for concord, that also had a rocky road to market, but was an engineering marvel. Same as the channel tunnel between England and France. There are many projects that need the backing of government to succeed. Perhaps a case in point closer to home: The Hoover dam.

    If you (OP) think that these problems are only happening in government back projects, then you havent worked on many large projects.

    Their economic political and national interests completely tied to one another via the EU before airbus, what is your point here?

    I wonder if this pointless thread will be locked for Euro-bashing :smile:
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2007
  8. Mar 22, 2007 #7
    Why does it look ugly? It has 2 wings some wheels, all airplane boxes are ticked :smile:

    What matters is the engineering marvel behind the A380 which surpasses the 40 year 737 any day.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2007
  9. Mar 22, 2007 #8
    Our plane is better than your plane... :tongue2:
  10. Mar 22, 2007 #9
    Sort of like a beluga whale forehead, right?
  11. Mar 22, 2007 #10
    Our plane is bigger than yours :yuck:
  12. Mar 22, 2007 #11
    Quality, not quantity, my friend. See: B-787
  13. Mar 22, 2007 #12
    I see only one way to resolve this...
    Evo? Does size really matter?

  14. Mar 22, 2007 #13
    Yes I know, it was a joke, but lets be frank you dont know the quality of the A380, and if you have a non-bias think about it, you will admit its an engineering masterpiece :smile:
  15. Mar 22, 2007 #14

    I agree, the beoing 787 is an engineering marvel. Good luck landing your A-380 on the 2-3 airports in the world that will carry them.

    Oh, and BTW, we have the spruce goose. So OURS is STILL bigger, 60 years later. You silly europeans are behind the times. Big went out in the 70's after the 747.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2007
  16. Mar 22, 2007 #15
    Its not mine actually. There are many airports that will carry them, and I was saying the A380 is an engineering masterpiece. I suppose you could design it in your sleep :rolleyes:

  17. Mar 22, 2007 #16
    Sleep, pahlease. In my daydreams. Sleep is for hard stuff.

    In all seriousness, how many airports, is "many"?


    That, is not many airports.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2007
  18. Mar 22, 2007 #17


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    I'll chime in a bit...

    The A380 is a pretty cool looking aircraft. I was just in NY and saw it land at Kennedy. It looks best, I think, when all of it's flaps and control surfaces are extended when coming in for a landing. It has a graceful gull type wing that really is quite nice.

    In terms of the Airbus-government backing, I am completely against it. It goes against every thing I think free enterprise is about. I don't have issues with companies that have both government and civil contracts (my company does) but to have direct backing of a government does not make a level field. From an engineering perspective, the cluster that is a company/consortium like that is a HUGE gaggle of bureaucracy. I am amazed the airplane made it off the ground.

    The A380 has some fantastic advances in technology. They hydraulic systems alone are a marvel. Someone finally got the 5000 psi systems to work. Everyone will be doing this in the future. Even military aircraft.

    I give props to the Europeans on a great plane. What I don't like is the arm bending and influence that was surely brought to bear by the French government. All we can do now is sit back and see just how many customers they lose due to production issues and then we can decide if it was all really worth it. Remember the Concorde was a business fiasco too.
  19. Mar 22, 2007 #18
    It 6* more than 2..

    Anyway I know that Prestwick airport can handle it, and many many more that you didnt list there, especially ones that have a dual Military function. I think you meant to say that the A380 can only land in certain big international airports.

    Anyway its the future of travel. Less fuel, more passengers, less pollution, longer distances. Get with the 00 not the 60's with your 747 nonsence
  20. Mar 22, 2007 #19
    :rofl: Excuse me. *6* airports. I hope a LOT of people need to go only 6 places in the world.:rofl:

    The new B-787 is going to make your whale obsolete. Sorry, but I honestly put my money on boeing for this one.

    The 737 became the standard for its size, and I can see the 777 and now 787 doing the same.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2007
  21. Mar 22, 2007 #20
    6* 2 (6 multipled by 2) more!!!!!!

    Bit like American cars yeah? :smile:

    Introducing the all new Boeing Muscle Plane :biggrin:
    *Air traffic control, this is US Airlines, are we clear to power slide into gate 3*

    cyrusabdollahi has spoken, quick someone call my broker, I need to put all my money into Boeing shares!!!!

    Last edited: Mar 22, 2007
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