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Gellman A380 CPA: Figures Fatally Flawed  
User currently offlineArt From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2005, 3398 posts, RR: 1
Posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 6517 times:

The Gellman "Shadow Critical Project Appraisal: The A380 Program" appears to be based on grossly inaccurate assumptions concerning the production rate of the A380. Financial projections for the project are based on a production rate that is so inaccurate (out by more than 100%) as to render the financial conclusions drawn highly misleading.

Gellman's figures project production of 164 frames over the first decade of production. At this rate (less than 1.5 frames per month) it would take Airbus over 9 years to produce the frames currently on order.

Source: Gellman report (updated July 2004), page 9

http://www.speednews.com/A380-CPA.pdf

Contrast this with the following extract from Flight International date 07/09/05:

"In an effort to catch up with the original delivery schedule over the next few years, Airbus is investigating whether output can be increased beyond the initial four a month."

http://www.flightglobal.com/Articles...01334/A380+flight+test+update.html

The Shadow Critical Project Appraisal was prepared by the following:

Aaron J. Gellman
Hans J. Weber
George W. Hamlin
Richard L. Aboulafia

Anyone happen to know:

a) where the projected production data was sourced

b) who financed the report

[Edited 2006-04-08 22:44:29]

41 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineOldAeroGuy From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 3600 posts, RR: 66
Reply 1, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 6427 times:

Why worry about it?

The report is several years old. We'll soon see how it plays out in real life. The A380 EIS is less than 9 months away. Its performance and the orders received over the next two years will go along way to invalidating the Gellman report or proving it correct.



Airplane design is easy, the difficulty is getting them to fly - Barnes Wallis
User currently offlineAvObserver From United States of America, joined Apr 2002, 2478 posts, RR: 9
Reply 2, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 6207 times:

Quoting OldAeroGuy (Reply 1):
Why worry about it?

Indeed! And besides, Airbus accountants are avowed miracle workers who can "fudge the numbers" with the best of the tax cheats and skew the most glaringly negative financial data into an entirely positive light!  Big grin Okay, I'm just being facetious; let nobody take offense to this - PLEASE!


User currently offlineNAV20 From Australia, joined Nov 2003, 9909 posts, RR: 36
Reply 3, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 6174 times:

Art, it's an estimate. It differs from Airbus' estimate. Either could be correct. We will find out which estimate is correct some time in mid-2007.

In any case, I don't know where 'four a month' comes from. Didn't Leahy say he couldn't sell any more A380s because there were no production slots free for the first five years? If they could get four a month built surely they'd fill the present orders in only three years?



"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
User currently offlineDhefty From United States of America, joined May 2005, 599 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 6077 times:

According to Ed Greenslet, of The Aviation Monitor, A380 production is forecast to be 145 units through 2010 (35 in 2007 and 2008, 40 in 2009 and 35 in 2010), or 3 per month. This is double the rate of 72 forecast by the "Shadow" report. The Aviation Monitor is a US publication.

Airbus was to have produced a report, as required by the Bilateral Agreement, but they neglected to do so. The "Shadow Report" was funded by Boeing, updated in 2004 and released to the public that year. This is the only thorough report on A380 development that I have seen.

Will Airbus be able to deliver 70 in the next two years? If so, they will have cut their passenger backlog by 53%, leaving 62. They will obviously have to gain more orders to continue at the 3/month rate after 2010. The freighters don't start until 2009, and there are only 25 of them in the backlog.

I had anticipated a much stronger market response to the freighter version than what we have seen.

It is interesting to note that the "Shadow Report" called for a total of 496 units over 20 years, which is more than some current views by people like Udvar-Hazy of ILFC. As time goes on, the rosy views first promulgated by Forgeard, Leahy and others in Airbus seem to be evaporating.

[Edited 2006-04-09 03:42:23]

User currently offlinePlevtls From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 22 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 5846 times:

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 3):
In any case, I don't know where 'four a month' comes from. Didn't Leahy say he couldn't sell any more A380s because there were no production slots free for the first five years? If they could get four a month built surely they'd fill the present orders in only three years?

Maybe the options of the Airlines that have already ordered make up your shortfall?


User currently offlineBill142 From Australia, joined Aug 2004, 8467 posts, RR: 8
Reply 6, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 5786 times:

Isn't this guy on the Boeing payroll? if so his "report" should be taken with a grain of salt.

User currently offlineArt From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2005, 3398 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 5710 times:

Quoting Dhefty (Reply 4):
Airbus was to have produced a report, as required by the Bilateral Agreement, but they neglected to do so. The "Shadow Report" was funded by Boeing, updated in 2004 and released to the public that year. This is the only thorough report on A380 development that I have seen.

Thanks for that. How come Airbus "neglected" preparing a report in accordance with agreement, yet received funding in spite of this? Kind of Boeing to do it in their stead.

This report may be thorough but it does not endeavour to reflect reality. I have prepared many financial projections in my time but never one where a key element (projected rate of production) has been 100% out. Any such financial projection would so misleading as to be worthless.

The Gellman report is based on a assumption that is wrong that leads to conclusions that are wrong. Strikes me that it is more piece of propaganda than any sort of scientific study.

I shall take any future opinions voiced by any concerned in its preparation with a bucket of salt.


User currently offlineMonteycarlos From Australia, joined Mar 2005, 2107 posts, RR: 28
Reply 8, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 5710 times:

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 3):
In any case, I don't know where 'four a month' comes from. Didn't Leahy say he couldn't sell any more A380s because there were no production slots free for the first five years? If they could get four a month built surely they'd fill the present orders in only three years?

So now its beneficial for you to believe Leahy on something you do, but when he makes a statement that is incompatible with your theories you debunk him entirlely? Nav, may I ask, do you pick and choose all your information?



It's a beautiful night to fly like a phoenix...
User currently offlineCloudyapple From Hong Kong, joined Jul 2005, 2454 posts, RR: 10
Reply 9, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 5638 times:

Quoting Art (Thread starter):
Richard L. Aboulafia

We all know who he is and his track record, don't we?



A310/A319/20/21/A332/3/A343/6/A388/B732/5/7/8/B742/S/4/B752/B763/B772/3/W/E145/J41/MD11/83/90
User currently offlineLeelaw From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 5589 times:

Quoting Cloudyapple (Reply 9):
Quoting Art (Thread starter):
Richard L. Aboulafia

We all know who he is and his track record, don't we?

Ah, "The Great Satan" Aboulafia...haven't the Airbus supporters issued a "fatwa" declaring his every utterance unworthy of any consideration?  Smile


User currently offlineA319XFW From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 5566 times:

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 3):
Art, it's an estimate. It differs from Airbus' estimate. Either could be correct. We will find out which estimate is correct some time in mid-2007.

The thing about the other estimate is that they don't need to do any of the work.
Airbus has got to agree delivery schedules with the customer and order parts etc, so know how many aircraft are going to be built and when.


User currently offlineNAV20 From Australia, joined Nov 2003, 9909 posts, RR: 36
Reply 12, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 5539 times:

Quoting Monteycarlos (Reply 8):
Nav, may I ask, do you pick and choose all your information?

Don't recall ever saying that Leahy's a liar, Montey. A bit of an idiot, yes, but not that.......

In any case, as I said, all three figures remain estimates. We'll know the true picture in about 18 months.

The Gellman Report is only a bit of fun, anyway. And has no official status. I really don't know why everyone seems to take it so seriously.



"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
User currently offlineArt From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2005, 3398 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 5487 times:

Quoting A319XFW (Reply 11):
Airbus has got to agree delivery schedules with the customer and order parts etc, so know how many aircraft are going to be built and when.

Exactly. Airbus know (a) projected production schedule (b) have a good idea of the unit cost of producing an A380 (c) know exactly the price at which all the aircraft ordered were sold.

Gellman:

appears wildly out in estimating item (a)

estimates (b) on the basis that if an aircraft weighing x tonnes costs y dollars to build, an aircraft weighing 2x tonnes costs 2y dollars to build (I have heard). I don't believe that is reflected in the real world.

(c) estimates 40% discount on first 60 aircraft ordered; 30% on next 60; 20% thereafter. I understand that this assumption is held to be reasonable.


User currently offlineMonteycarlos From Australia, joined Mar 2005, 2107 posts, RR: 28
Reply 14, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 5474 times:

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 12):
The Gellman Report is only a bit of fun, anyway. And has no official status. I really don't know why everyone seems to take it so seriously.

The reason I find this a tad laughable is that I recall a discussion you and I had six months ago in which this report and its conclusions were used by you as factual evidence that the A380 project was going to be a financial disaster.

I guess the jury is still out but your dismissive nature of the report now just seems to undermine your basis for argument and only makes me question exactly what it is that you are trying to achieve in these discussions.



It's a beautiful night to fly like a phoenix...
User currently offlineNAV20 From Australia, joined Nov 2003, 9909 posts, RR: 36
Reply 15, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 5440 times:

I still expect the A380 to be a financial disaster, Montey. But if it is, it won't be because the Gellman Report put some kind of hex on it. It will be because Airbus either neglected to produce a proper Critical Project Appraisal in their own right, or DID produce one and then chose to ignore what it said.


"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
User currently offlineThorben From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 5417 times:

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 16):
I still expect the A380 to be a financial disaster, Montey. But if it is, it won't be because the Gellman Report put some kind of hex on it. It will be because Airbus either neglected to produce a proper Critical Project Appraisal in their own right, or DID produce one and then chose to ignore what it said.

Given the money they are currently making and the time and size of the A380 project, I think they made some planning concerning the finances.

I read a number of posts from you about the "financial disaster" and IIRC they were mainly based on large discounts. How much of a discount do they need to give in a monopoly market`?


User currently offlineMonteycarlos From Australia, joined Mar 2005, 2107 posts, RR: 28
Reply 17, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 5417 times:

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 16):
I still expect the A380 to be a financial disaster, Montey. But if it is, it won't be because the Gellman Report put some kind of hex on it. It will be because Airbus either neglected to produce a proper Critical Project Appraisal in their own right, or DID produce one and then chose to ignore what it said.

Very well, but do you consider 18 months to be a reasonable timeline for an aircraft whose EIS is approximately half that figure?

Boeing's own 747 wasn't even THAT good!



It's a beautiful night to fly like a phoenix...
User currently offlineGlacote From France, joined Jun 2005, 409 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 4612 times:

The Gellman shadow appraisal report is a joke. Go and read it for yourself. It is sensational yet falls apart if you relax three bold hypotheses:
- that the production rate will be 6 times lower than what Airbus has predicted - and is currently committed to. This even contradicts the current order backlog.
- that the marginal production cost is strictly to weight with factors being calibrated on single-aisle jets. This is completely out-of-sync even with Boeing jet figures
- that unprecedented (50%+) discounts have been given to early customers. Even Emirates - by far the largest customer of the A388, an eager future prospect for the A389 and a long-time loyal "arab" Airbus customer - paid 165 millions 2001-USD.

It is also fundamentally dependent to the hypothesis that the p2p view of the market will predominate - which is not determined yet. I don't qualify this one as "clearly wrong" since it is a long-standing debate. However you may consider that even BA is considering VLA and that Boeing has enterd this market. So the VLA market may probably not predominate but probably not be wiped out either.

Please go and read it for yourself. It is a journalism-level political ploy to support Boeing case at the WTC. By no means it is an rigorously conducted analysis backed by arguable and veryfiable figures.

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 3):
Art, it's an estimate. It differs from Airbus' estimate. Either could be correct. We will find out which estimate is correct some time in mid-2007.

You must be kidding! So you have an academic founding his claims on a rate supported by no figure, this for a very controversial report supported by Boeing against Airbus own estimates backed by supplier contracts, ongoing orders, many press releases, and industrial investments into production lines - and you treat them equally respectable?

Come on.

This report was extremely welcome for Boeing to argue its cas at the WTC that Airbus had biased its appraisal report. He earned $50,000 to throw wild and unsupported guesstimates and ridiculous methodoligical procedures.

I guess the support of some A.netters to this report tells much...


User currently offlineDhefty From United States of America, joined May 2005, 599 posts, RR: 3
Reply 19, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 3688 times:

Quoting Glacote (Reply 18):
The Gellman shadow appraisal report is a joke

OK, Glacote, I will agree on the condition that you produce another document, hopefully produced by Airbus, that supplies more accurate information. And by the way, they were required to provide such a document by the terms of the Bilateral Agreement. Where is it?

It's easy to criticize, but without a comparative document, how do you justify your claims?

The "Shadow Report" is nearly 100 pages long. It obviously was not tossed together overnight. Some of the top names in aviation have their imprimatur on it. Does it claim to be 100% accurate? No. As NAV20 say, it is an estimate, taking many variables into account.

I'd have to say it makes a very strong case.


User currently offlineArt From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2005, 3398 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 3531 times:

Quoting Dhefty (Reply 19):
The "Shadow Report" is nearly 100 pages long. It obviously was not tossed together overnight.

Obviously not. However if you put garbage in your spreadsheet, then do a lot of accurate calculations, the result is still garbage.

The production rate input, I maintain, is garbage. I guess the production price is wrong, too.


User currently offlineDougloid From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 3426 times:

Quoting Dhefty (Reply 19):
"Shadow Report" is nearly 100 pages long. It obviously was not tossed together overnight. Some of the top names in aviation have their imprimatur on it. Does it claim to be 100% accurate? No. As NAV20 say, it is an estimate, taking many variables into account.

I'd have to say it makes a very strong case.

One thing I've never seen is the Alenia market research that came to similar conclusions. Boy, that's be a find.


User currently offlineDhefty From United States of America, joined May 2005, 599 posts, RR: 3
Reply 22, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks ago) and read 3132 times:

Quoting Art (Reply 20):
The production rate input, I maintain, is garbage. I guess the production price is wrong, too.

You can question the production price, but where do you get your data to contravene what the Gellman Report suggests? If in fact the first 50 or so units were sold way below cost, then it again takes longer to recover.

A further consideration is that the production rate has slipped by one year, adding to the interest on the loans to begin production, and shortening the period of repayment to the state treasuries by one year.

The whole scenario boils down to the ability to garner new orders to fill slots after 2010. If Airbus has front-loaded their production in years 2007-10 (relative to the Gellman prediction), then they are going to have to do some serious selling to keep the production rate at 3.0 to 3.5 per month after 2010. And that is just where the profitable years are forecast to be. Quite a tall task, now that competition has appeared in the form of the B747-8 and the proposed B787-10 (reputed to have lower seat-mile costs than the A380.


User currently offlineFunby From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 8 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 2906 times:

I've been around for about 6-7 years and this is my first post, be kind.

I studied under Gellmen at Northwestern University last year, and I had a chance to talk to him about the report.

I think he would say that it was a based on data at the time and market interpretation. Its old now and many things have changed. I would also bet that he would still see Airbus as having made a tactical mistake in deciding to compete in the "super jumbo" category.

As far as those who say the report is trash and he is a Boeing poster child, if you have actually talked to him he's kind of critical of stupidity in general, whether it's Boeing, Airbus, the FAA etc.

[Edited 2006-04-09 23:20:24]

User currently offlineArt From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2005, 3398 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 2853 times:

Quoting Dhefty (Reply 22):
If in fact the first 50 or so units were sold way below cost, then it again takes longer to recover.

Accepting Gellman's assumption that the first 60 units were sold at 40% off the then list price, I think that a loss on those frames is a certainty. If not, Airbus would be making $135 million profit per frame at a sales price of $280 million per frame.

Quoting Dhefty (Reply 22):
The whole scenario boils down to the ability to garner new orders to fill slots after 2010.

Indeed.

But that is not the whole scenario. Having plugged some figures into a spreadsheet, it is clear that getting the initial loss-making frames out of the door at a rate of 30 a year and moving onto profitable production dramatically reduces the interest burden compared with Gellman's projected average of 15 frames a year for the first 7 years. His projection borders on the insane!


25 Antares : Aboulafia also predicted over a year ago that the 787 would be up to one year late, so his star status with Boeing may have dimmed a little. Then agai
26 Abba : Wonder why - save for Boeing fans - a serious person like you, Art, can take anything even remotely serious with this name on the author list. Abba
27 Art : The report looks like it is serious. Last year people kept citing it as an authorative document. I spent hours reading it. Quite interesting in an an
28 Lehpron : Hold on, I'm confused. Does A380 have their own production line or not? What are the "no production slots free for the first five years"? Would those
29 Revelation : Transparency is not one of Airbus's strong suits. We have to get our information via second hand effects, such as BAe selling off its 20% of Airbus b
30 Dougloid : Well, it's rather fashionable among a lot of people here to beat the snot out of the people who wrote the report as being irretrievable partisan Boei
31 Slarty : Depends upon whether or not the product is in demand ... I might have a monopoly (or duopoly if Nav20 is selling them also) on "Abba Turds", but it d
32 Post contains images Sebolino : You have been very wise to write the last sentence.
33 Sebolino : LOL I guess many companies would love to have such an idiot at the head of sales.
34 Art : I am under the impression that from the word go Airbus aimed at opacity in order to avoid proper scrutiny. Regarding BAE and Daimler-Benz wishing to
35 Post contains images Sllevin : That's a fancy way of saying that DCX is struggling with European sales (especially the Mercedes brand) and wants utilize the significant profits the
36 Ikramerica : Daimler Chrysler. After all, though a few years ago it was the "Benz" that was carrying the auto sector of their business, right now it's the "Chrysl
37 Art : Sorry, Daimler Chrysler.
38 Leelaw : Nice summation, counselor.
39 Prebennorholm : I'm just wondering whom to trust the most? Gellman? Or I should I ask a company which produced and delivered 100+ new airliners during Q1-06 and manag
40 Dougloid : I dunno. Trust really doesn't enter into it, does it? I mean, it's a report. It's like the report you get where the guy says "there's no termites in
41 ContnlEliteCMH : Yeah, who'd a thunk it?! Chrysler carrying mighty Mercedes. Ford singlehandedly rescuing legendary Jaguar from the scrapheap. And Vee-dub may be in t
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