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:: May 2000 Newsletter ::

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Dear Fellow Aircraft Industry Clockwatchers,

Seems like the months just fly by, don’t they? Matter of fact, seems like just yesterday Airbus was ready to launch the A350; that was Jean Pierson’s pet project, a new, large 600-seat beast that was all set to go…in 1992. Well, here we are, eight years later, and Airbus has spent $500 million or more on mockups, drawings, promotional literature and gimcracks…and about $75onroute analysis and market planning. The plane has a new, slightly more technical-sounding name, the A3XX, and “letters of interest” or something like that, from several carriers.

Number one thing I’ve learned after 10.4 years at Teal: just because I was right about something in the past doesn’t mean I’m right about it today. Certainly, things have changed at Airbus, and in the market. There’s a new spirit of misplaced techno-nationalism in Europe, and governments are spending money on aerospace again, or at least talking about spending. Asia has recovered and is growing again. And, Airbus is a far less socialist institution. Its member companies are far more profit-oriented.

Nevertheless, for reasons described in our past reports I’m sticking with my forecast—first deliveries only in late 2009. But I have to tell you that the current A3XXmaneuvers have brought the program to a boiling point—Airbus has made huge efforts to put things in place, regarding money, customer interest, corporate politics, and government support. Either the project gets launched in the next month or two, or they’ll have to wait, probably for a few years.

Needless to say, we’ll keep you updated. A3XX or not, next month’s supplement will include updates of the Trainer/Light Attack overview, plus the Gulfstream Series, PC-9/T-6, 757, Tornado, Huey/212/412, MD-80, and others. I’d also like to apologize for the slightly late Rotorcraft overview; a crucial Turkish attack helicopter decision is said to be imminent, so I thought I’d give them another few weeks to make up their minds. Whether they do or not, the overview will be in June’s supplement.

Also, starting next month I will introduce a new feature in the updated reports. At the start of each report, where you now find the Recent News section, I will add a paragraph describing what has changed since the previous update. In an ideal world we would have figured out a way to use desktop publishing to outline any changes in the text itself, but this looks impossible. I hope this new section proves to be a useful addition.

Yours, Until I Find That Magic Lantern,

Richard Aboulafia
 

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