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Airbus's Shaky Success  
User currently offlineScipio From Belgium, joined Oct 2007, 898 posts, RR: 10
Posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 9121 times:

Just stumbled across this article from 1985. With the benefit of 22-something years of hindsight, it makes entertaining and somewhat nostalgic reading.

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortu...archive/1985/12/23/66817/index.htm

I like this one:

>> ''We're out to see to it that the A320 has no more than four years in the market,'' says Dean Thornton, head of Boeing's commercial aircraft division. New Boeing planes, he thinks, can nip the A320 long before it approaches breakeven.

And this one:

>> But rivals Boeing and McDonnell Douglas have some technical razzle-dazzle of their own in the works that they hope will make the A320 obsolete by the early 1990s.

What about this:

>> Airbus uses exceedingly optimistic sales projections. It predicts that airlines will buy 4,160 A320- type planes over the next 20 years and that more than 900 of them will be Airbuses.

Of course, the Berlin Wall was still standing and emerging markets were stuck in their debt crisis, so the order boom we've had could not entirely be foreseen. But still, Airbus ended up selling 900 A320s and A321s by 1992 already.

Similarly:

>> Airbus sees a potential demand for 1,500 TA-9s and TA-11s over the next 20 years, but like past Airbus forecasts, this could prove to be wishful thinking.

Some things haven't changed:

>> And U.S. trade officials are contemplating some kind of retaliation on the ground that Airbus's subsidized operations are hurting the competitiveness of U.S. planemakers.


And here are the seeds of Airbus' production efficiency:

>> With over 130 Boeing and 85 McDonnell Douglas planes rolling off production lines each year vs. just 35 Airbuses, the Americans' cost advantage appears insurmountable.

>> Building airplanes by telex is a bit like buying and selling stocks by mail.

>> Labor costs have been hard to control. ... To combat the problem, Airbus has designed labor savings into the planes.

Enjoy....

Scipio.

57 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineJoeCattoli From Italy, joined Aug 2005, 569 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 9092 times:

LoL priceless, thank you very much for digging this up, interesting is to note after that many years passed for some people each Airbus project still is headed to a sure failure...

Ciao
Joe


User currently offlineMariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25405 posts, RR: 86
Reply 2, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 9071 times:
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That's a great read.

As JoeCattoli says, some attitudes have not changed.  Smile

mariner



aeternum nauta
User currently offlinePlaneInsomniac From Canada, joined Nov 2007, 680 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 9043 times:

That has to be the explanation for many things one is reading on A.net! Apparently quite a few people read that article in 1985 and never updated their views with more recent facts.


Am I cured? Slept 5 hours on last long-haul flight...
User currently offlinePlaneInsomniac From Canada, joined Nov 2007, 680 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 8983 times:

But look at the numbers!

>> In the first ten months of 1985 Airbus booked firm orders for 81 airliners, the best performance in the four- nation consortium's 16-year history.

These days, that would be a good day for either Airbus or Boeing!



Am I cured? Slept 5 hours on last long-haul flight...
User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31096 posts, RR: 85
Reply 5, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 8954 times:
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Well with McD commercial imploding, Airbus could only move up, but the fact they built great planes helped them grow faster then lack of competition alone would have. And the new Airbus management team needs to take credit, as well as their follow-on "super salesman", ol JL.

And 10 years ago, I remember reading serious papers that said Boeing was going to abandon being a commercial airline manufacturer and move solely to build military planes.  rofl 

[Edited 2008-01-28 18:07:22]

User currently offlineStoutAirLines From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 150 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 8888 times:



Quoting Scipio (Thread starter):
Just stumbled across this article from 1985.

Was there a point to unearthing something this old?

Shall we dig up what all Boeing bashing was coming from Jean Pierson during and even before that time? (I will see if I can find some of those gems, if you like. They were amusing to put it kindly.)

I was there. Dean remains a greatly admired true figure in aviation history.

And how about all the more recent pearls of Boeing bashing from our dear old friend, Noel? They were a hoot!

And is it too late to correct the heading? You need to check it.

Thanks.


User currently offlineHalls120 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 8880 times:



Quoting Scipio (Thread starter):
Just stumbled across this article from 1985. With the benefit of 22-something years of hindsight, it makes entertaining and somewhat nostalgic reading.

ah, yes, just what we need, another A v. B flame fest.  sarcastic 


User currently offlineVirgin747LGW From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2007, 225 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 8863 times:



Quoting StoutAirLines (Reply 6):
Was there a point to unearthing something this old?

Shall we dig up what all Boeing bashing was coming from Jean Pierson during and even before that time? (I will see if I can find some of those gems, if you like. They were amusing to put it kindly.)

I was there. Dean remains a greatly admired true figure in aviation history.

And how about all the more recent pearls of Boeing bashing from our dear old friend, Noel? They were a hoot!

And is it too late to correct the heading? You need to check it.

Thanks.

Its not just Boeing that dismisses Airbus in the article, it seems that virtually no-one thought they could be succesful which is what the OP was showing


User currently offlineScipio From Belgium, joined Oct 2007, 898 posts, RR: 10
Reply 9, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 8821 times:



Quoting StoutAirLines (Reply 6):
Was there a point to unearthing something this old?

Funny that you're the one asking this.

Quoting StoutAirLines (Reply 6):
And is it too late to correct the heading? You need to check it.

This was the point. The title is exactly as Fortune magazine wrote it.

I was thinking today about the fact that during the discussion you and I had on the BA 747-8I thread you seemed to take issue with my writing "Airbus's this or that", i.e., adding 's after a word that ends in -s to indicate the possessive.

So, I decided to run a Google search of the term "Airbus's". This article showed up as the third result. That is how I accidentally came across it. Accidentally, but as a result of your questioning my grammar. As you will see if you run the same Google search, a lot of other professionally edited publications use the same form of the possessive.

To conclude the grammatical part of this discussion, both "Airbus' " and "Airbus's" are correct forms of the possessive. I have always been inclined to use the former but was recently told by a professional editor at work to use the latter.

As to the article itself, if you don't find anything amusing in it, I suggest you go spend your time on other threads. Or if you want to dig up funny old quotes from senior Airbus managers, please by all means do so. More entertainment for all of us.

Scipio.


User currently offlineIkramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21544 posts, RR: 59
Reply 10, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 8787 times:



Quoting Scipio (Thread starter):
Some things haven't changed:

>> And U.S. trade officials are contemplating some kind of retaliation on the ground that Airbus's subsidized operations are hurting the competitiveness of U.S. planemakers.

well, gee, I dunno, maybe they were right? all that government aid and loan money available free of market forces sure didn't hurt Airbus's ability to grow... The A320 has paid back in spades, no doubt, but it doesn't change the fact that the risk to Airbus was much lower, the cost of funds lower, etc., than if they had been forced to seek 100% financing in the free market.

Just because someone says something is wrong for 20 years doesn't mean they really must be the wrong ones. "It's been happening forever" doesn't excuse anything.



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineEvilForce From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 8758 times:



Quoting Scipio (Thread starter):
Just stumbled across this article from 1985. With the benefit of 22-something years of hindsight, it makes entertaining and somewhat nostalgic reading.

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortu...archive/1985/12/23/66817/index.htm

I like this one:

LMAO!!! Well gee, why couldn't the idiots at Airbus see how foolish they were for trying to build aircraft.

It just goes to show you that "doers" do vs. the "non-doers" that just sit and piss and moan about how much work "doing" something is, and how it is likely to fail. Had Bill Gates, Henry Ford, Airbus, Boeing, Steve Jobs, and a host of others not ignored the naysayers we'd still be using smoke signals and ride horses today.


User currently offlineMariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25405 posts, RR: 86
Reply 12, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 8754 times:
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Quoting StoutAirLines (Reply 6):
Was there a point to unearthing something this old?

Perhaps because it is (a) amusing and (b) informative?

mariner



aeternum nauta
User currently offlinePM From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 6936 posts, RR: 63
Reply 13, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 8747 times:



Quoting Scipio (Reply 9):
To conclude the grammatical part of this discussion, both "Airbus' " and "Airbus's" are correct forms of the possessive.

 checkmark 

Quoting Scipio (Reply 9):
As to the article itself, if you don't find anything amusing in it, I suggest you go spend your time on other threads. Or if you want to dig up funny old quotes from senior Airbus managers, please by all means do so. More entertainment for all of us.

Excellent response!  bigthumbsup 

As for the original article, I had no idea that Richard Aboulafia was writing so long ago...


User currently offlineRayChuang From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 8018 posts, RR: 5
Reply 14, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 8712 times:

I think back in 1985, it was a real unknown how well the Airbus A320 was going to do, especially given that many airlines worldwide were buying Boeing 727-200's up until the early 1980's! It took the likes of the Air France and Lufthansa orders and three major USA airline orders (United, Northwest and then-America West) that finally convinced other airlines to take a chance on buying the A320 Family of planes.

Because the A320 offered more range than the 737-300/400 models back then, airlines then really started to buy the A320 Family, until Boeing won back many orders with the Next-Generation 737 models from 1997 on.


User currently offlineVirgin747LGW From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2007, 225 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 8679 times:



Quoting PM (Reply 13):

As for the original article, I had no idea that Richard Aboulafia was writing so long ago...

lol yeah i prefer his older material, what band was in before he went solo?

ahhh yes The A- Bashers, with their smash hits "If it aint boeing I aint going" and "You need more bluechips baby"  Wink


User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31096 posts, RR: 85
Reply 16, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days ago) and read 8620 times:
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Quoting Virgin747LGW (Reply 8):
Its not just Boeing that dismisses Airbus in the article, it seems that virtually no-one thought they could be successful which is what the OP was showing.

Well they were a "one-hit wonder" at the time with the A300/A310 going against Boeing, who had the 737, 747, 757 and 767 plus the 7J7 concept and they had recently delivered the last 727. And McD had the MD-8x and MD-11 and could have resurrected the abandoned 180-seat Douglas DC-11 concept to flesh-out the line.

So I can understand the skepticism at the time, even if it looks laughable with over two decades of hindsight.


User currently offlineScipio From Belgium, joined Oct 2007, 898 posts, RR: 10
Reply 17, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 8480 times:



Quoting PlaneInsomniac (Reply 4):
But look at the numbers!

There has been some change in scale, indeed  Smile

The market has grown tremendously, and Airbus has gained a lot of market share. Combined, that gives explosive growth, as shown in the historic orders and deliveries spreadsheet posted on Airbus' website. Back in the 1980s, Airbus was really small.

On the other hand, some years from now we might look back to the period 2005-2007 and say "But look at the numbers".

Quoting Stitch (Reply 5):
And 10 years ago, I remember reading serious papers that said Boeing was going to abandon being a commercial airline manufacturer and move solely to build military planes.

I remember that too. People are too quick to extrapolate trends. It took the launch of the B787 to silence those voices.

Quoting PM (Reply 13):
Excellent response!

Thanks  Smile

Quoting RayChuang (Reply 14):
I think back in 1985, it was a real unknown how well the Airbus A320 was going to do, especially given that many airlines worldwide were buying Boeing 727-200's up until the early 1980's!



Quoting Stitch (Reply 16):
So I can understand the skepticism at the time, even if it looks laughable with over two decades of hindsight.

Exactly. I think nobody could foresee how successful the A320 would become. The A320 was an unknown quantity and the market has grown much stronger than any reasonable person could have projected. Even Airbus' own projections look laughably modest with hindsight. That being said, there was clearly some complacency among the managerial staff at Airbus' competitors.

That the A320 is still going strong, and has not yet been rendered obsolete by any competitor, shows just how great an aircraft design it really was. I think history will put it way up there among the world's greatest airliners.

The low expectations that transpire from the article make its success all the more stark.

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 10):
all that government aid and loan money available free of market forces sure didn't hurt Airbus's ability to grow...

Undeniably. That's another debate of course, with legitimate arguments on both sides. I'd say let the WTO sort it out.

From the perspective of us, the flying public, however, I don't think we would have been better off had Airbus never existed.


Scipio.


User currently offlineWorldrider From Switzerland, joined Nov 2007, 302 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 8298 times:



Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 10):
well, gee, I dunno, maybe they were right? all that government aid and loan money available free of market forces sure didn't hurt Airbus's ability to grow... The A320 has paid back in spades, no doubt, but it doesn't change the fact that the risk to Airbus was much lower, the cost of funds lower, etc., than if they had been forced to seek 100% financing in the free market.

well gee, i remind you that at that time Airbus was 100% state owned, a complete governement project, and that here in the "old" europe such a thing was commun, so why should a public company have been forced to get cash in the "free" market? Airbus just has simply been one of the most successful international projects, for the good of its people...
and there is just nothing bad about being public.


User currently offlineScbriml From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2003, 12618 posts, RR: 46
Reply 19, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 8267 times:
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Quoting Scipio (Thread starter):

Nice find!  yes 

Quoting StoutAirLines (Reply 6):
Was there a point to unearthing something this old?

If you don't know, or can't see the value, then don't bother reading the thread.

Quoting Scipio (Reply 9):
To conclude the grammatical part of this discussion, both "Airbus' " and "Airbus's" are correct forms of the possessive.

Both are perfectly acceptable. To my mind Airbus' looks better than Airbus's.


Another "With hindsight, I bet he wishes he hadn't said that!" quote I love is this one:

Quote:
As Concorde struggled through its final tests in 1974, Boeing marketing executive Jim Austin gave his verdict on another European airliner, also just entering service. “A typical government airplane,” he said. “They’ll build a couple of dozen and then go out of business,” That airplane was the Airbus A300, and Austin couldn't have been more wrong.

http://www.businessweek.com/adsections/2005/pdf/0523_aero_aviation.pdf

Again, at the time the statement was probably valid, but now it does look amusing. wink 



Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana!
User currently offlineAstuteman From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 10101 posts, RR: 97
Reply 20, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 8209 times:
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Quoting Halls120 (Reply 7):
Quoting Scipio (Thread starter):
Just stumbled across this article from 1985. With the benefit of 22-something years of hindsight, it makes entertaining and somewhat nostalgic reading.

ah, yes, just what we need, another A v. B flame fest

Addressed to the wrong poster

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 10):
all that government aid and loan money available free of market forces sure didn't hurt Airbus's ability to grow

The first 6 years of my life were spent in a shipbuilding industry that was nationalised, and heavily subsidised, and it was a disaster.
I can categorically assure you that government aid in NO WAY guarantees success. In fact, it usually has the opposite effect, as the recipients feel "feather-bedded" from reality.
Yes, without the aid, Airbus couldn't have existed, but this nonsensical myopia over RLI completely obscures the FACT that Airbus were SUCCESSFUL (as opposed to existed) because they were/are f***ing good at what they do!
Nothing more, nothing less

Quoting Stitch (Reply 16):
So I can understand the skepticism at the time, even if it looks laughable with over two decades of hindsight.

 checkmark 
Following the above comment, I can too, Stitch. It's only laughable because the guys who formed Airbus defied all the odds and MADE it work. No amount of money could do that - only people.
It serves to underline the magnitude of their achievement

Quoting Scipio (Thread starter):

Many thanks Scipio. Funny how things change, isn't it?

Regards


User currently offlineQantasHeavy From Australia, joined Jan 2005, 379 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 8204 times:

Boeing did not repsect Airbus and see the threat... regardless of subsidies, etc. who care... Airbus used eveyr and any means to compete, as they should. Boeing got arrogant; they make great planes but did not think Airbus could be a real competitor and and the little shop in France became a major player almost overnight once the company began A320/30/40 production.

But the two companies need each other to stay cutting edge and market focused.


User currently offlineVirgin747LGW From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2007, 225 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 8078 times:



Quoting Stitch (Reply 16):
Well they were a "one-hit wonder" at the time

yes, but all the doubters had to do was look at the companies that formed Airbus to see that Airbus was a threat.

If Boeing and Lockheed had collabarated on a new aircraft would analysts dismiss the new company as inexpirenced?

No because they would see the two large experieced companies behind it

Boeing underestimated Airbus, its that simple


User currently offlineChiad From Norway, joined May 2006, 1160 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 7993 times:

Thank god we have both Airbus and Boeing.
Think if Airbus didn't make it. That would of course mean no Airbus products, but probably there would have not been any B787's og B777s either.
We might have had the B737-600 to 800 been launched 10 years later.
We would have seen remakes of the B757s and B767's, and the B747 would still have been the Queen of the Skies, but the B748 would have been unheard of.

Geeez .. how boring.

Well ... there's a chance that MDC would still be alive (hanging onto their MD-11s and remakes) and we might have had some other players making a B737 competitor, but that's about it!

Think .. no A330's, A340's A350 and NO A380's  hissyfit , nor B748s, B777's or B787's.


User currently offlineCpd From Australia, joined Jun 2008, 4879 posts, RR: 37
Reply 24, posted (6 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 7904 times:

Forgetting the subsidies arguments that always end in stalemates when each side uncovers the others dirty laundry, I think this article is a real blast from the past.

It really shows how far everyone has come. And how would it have been if the MD-11 had really taken off in big way. Would we be seeing now a MD-11 next-generation?

And if it were to happen, I wonder what it would be like? The MD11 is already quite sophisticated - so the flight deck might not change..


25 QantasHeavy : Yup, plently of games on both sides. In terms of the MD-11... remember the proposed MD-12? Doesn't get much credit or mention these days but if looks
26 Post contains links Fanfan : Image of an MD-12..... http://images.google.com/imgres?imgu...2%26gbv%3D2%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Den
27 AirNZ : Ah, here we go and knew it would come up! No matter what the industry is, when a competitor enters a market a way is always found to illustrate how a
28 Congaboy : Clearly...and I would venture to say that, to date, it represents Airbus biggest and finest success story. Even compared to the daring launch of the
29 Baroque : I guess this adds to the abundant evidence that there are some questions you just should not ask. Never set up an enquiry unless you know all the ans
30 JakTrax : I notice many with the US flag nestling next to their names are very quick to go on the defensive here. Calm down, the big, bad Europeans didn't start
31 AirbusA6 : I presume Boeing and McD were thinking about the various UDF engined planes bandied around the late 80s, as otherwise they look frankly ridiculous (a
32 JakTrax : It always gets me when people suggest the A380 is a direct rip-off of the MD-12. What else is a very large capacity airliner supposed to look like? Th
33 Keesje : What would be interesting is to see comparable Boeing bashing. I have been looking for it in the press, on internet, because it is referenced often as
34 Stitch : To the level it and the 737NG did, I agree. But I think Boeing would have known the A320 was a threat. The A320 was aimed right at the 727 replacemen
35 Post contains links RedFlyer : Come now, my friend, how difficult can it be? I found this gem about the 7E7 after, literally, a four-second Google search: [emphasis added] http://m
36 Post contains images Astuteman : If they did, they didn't broadcast it much.. ''We're out to see to it that the A320 has no more than four years in the market,'' says Dean Thornton,
37 Post contains images Stitch : Because I believe they thought the 757 would appeal to every 727 operator. The original 757 was to be smaller, but since EA and BA were willing to ac
38 Max550 : Despite the fact that I have an American flag next to my name, I must say that I like both Boeing and Airbus. Just imagine, if there was no Airbus we
39 Aircellist : First, in the article, there are references to over-optimistic market forecast by Airbus. I don't know where to find the answers, but seeing the devel
40 Plobax : had been co-producing a plane named Concorde and a few other fine aircrafts.......
41 PlaneInsomniac : The MD-12 is discussed on a.net at least 3-4 times a year and has been brought up in numerous A380-related threads. And by no stretch of imagination
42 MD80Nut : A very interesting article, from a historical perspective. It demonstrates how the worst mistake you can make is to underestimate an opponent or compe
43 Stitch : It looks a good deal better, frankly, at least for the fuselage. I reserve judgment on the wings, since the A380's are truly magnificent.
44 ZKEOJ : Thanks! Couldn't have said it better! I love both A and B aircraft, and I wish good old Lockheed and MD would still passenger liners - imagine how gr
45 RayChuang : Actually, the A320 project grew out of the need to finally replace the rapidly aging BAe Trident and Sud Aviation Caravelle jets. Pity that Airbus did
46 Post contains images Keesje : It probably took some more then 5 seconds to find a 5 years quiet moderate article with somewhere down the article an unknown Airbus marketing guy sa
47 Stitch : I'm not sure it is fair to limit our search solely to US periodicals. Perhaps some Boeing Booster's who speak various EU and other foreign languages c
48 Post contains links Keesje : German & French news on 787 delays : all seems objective, no bad qualifications, no power talk, no we against them, everybody saying its the a succesf
49 AFGMEL : My take is that you should take all forecasts for the next 20 years with a large grain of salt. After all, if one could predict the future then you wo
50 Stitch : Anyone know what they said about the 747-X, the 747-X Stretch, and the 747 Advanced?[Edited 2008-01-29 13:35:42]
51 Congaboy : Indeed, we are one surface to air missle away from huge changes....a nasty thing to put out there, but true enough. What I think is revealing about w
52 Magyar : I think what is shocking in this article is not that they were way off in their prediction but how similar these predictions are to the currrent "fore
53 Dazeflight : You've got some deep-routing issues. Better see a doc before it's to late.
54 Flymad : GREAT POST!! I fully agree - and it ultimately makes for a better and safer flying experience for all of us whether it be in the cockpit or in the ca
55 Baroque : The article is interesting in a nu,ber of ways and the points that AC and Magyar pick up are far from the least interesting. It appears techinical es
56 ThrottleHold : I'd like to introduse myself as the first one then!! Flown the 737, 747, 320 and 330. I'll take the Airbus anyday.
57 Pihero : You should go out a bit to those airlines who fly both brands. You'll probably be shell-shocked. Someone earlier alluded to the 744 *difficult* entry
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