Just prior to final negotiations Aibus's CEO Mr. Tom Enders publically states that the A380 will remain in production for at least a decade. I am quite sure that the Airbus negotiators also said the same.
EK essentially said... "Yes, that is what we want to see to ensure the value of our order.. Just put it in writing..."
Now, above several people seemed to disputed my previous claim several pages back that such things as putting things in writing are in fact normal during negotiations; and that the real issue relates to the fact that Airbus was surprised by such a request. Really? Why do contracts and negotiations for them exist at all if not to put things in writing. It has been my personal and very painful at times, and is reported to be a common issue, that verbal promises seem to have a way of vanishing if they mean real money or inconvenience.
Somehow a lot of people seem to be blaming EK for what is literally just a very common position during negotiations... Put it in writing. The fact that Airbus balked at that... that the CEO had made such public (and likely private) promises apparently without Airbus Board Approval so they could easily put it in writing (in some way as there are various ways of writing that); is not EK's fault. Any competent contract negotiator should fully expect a "put it in writing" response to any and every verbal promise.
I did the googling and the Enders quote was:
"At Airbus, we believe in our flagship A380 and we believe the future is bright. I am convinced we will still produce A380s 10 years from now. Passengers like it and are willing to pay the premium," he said.
Ref: https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/indust ... e-a-future
( a copy of a Reuters article )
I don't blame EK for saying "put it in writing", that is indeed their next logical step, because that is surely the kind of commitment they'd love to have.
I think Enders' statement can be read more of a statement of intent rather than a commitment, especially given the time and place (a ceremony handing over the 100th A380 to Emirates), but again it's perfectly natural for EK to say "great, now put it in writing".
When I first read Enders' statement I did feel he was indeed leaving himself open to the demand that he back up his statement with words.
To me it seemed to be something of an 'own goal'.
I myself have negotiated and signed multiple multi-million dollar contracts; dealt with many contract issues (learned many lessons), and even used the "force majeure" clause once on several of those contracts with complete acceptance by the other parties. For a contract negotiation to fail over a "put it in writing" of a very public CEO statement... is just stunning to me.
I think the gripe is that EK apparently waited till very late in the process to ask for it in writing. In turn the Airbus side might have felt that the statement was just a statement of intent, and commitment would need board level approval, and given that Enders is taking a lot of heat over the corruption/compliance issues, he might have felt it was a very bad time to ask the Board to commit to a decade of losing money on the A380 and/or cancellation payments and/or buybacks. Of course EK must have known this too, but its own concerns about A380 future values are quite legitimate IMHO and they might feel the Board has no choice but to make some concessions despite Enders' discomfort, given the current environment.
Corporate Airbus is being very prudent, good for them, their profits and their shareholders.
Corporate EK is also being prudent.
The used A380 valuation problem (crisis?) is no longer a hypothetical thing.
An A380 has gone directly from airline service into storage without engines. It's not hard to imagine more will follow.
As desperate as it seemed to be to end up in Hajj service, even that doesn't seem to be an option.