rootsair
Posts: 4012
Joined: Sun Feb 06, 2005 3:25 am

Aircraft, Why Not More Manufacturers?

Thu Feb 08, 2007 1:10 am

If one went spotting back in the 1970's, one could observe Boeing, Airbus, McDonellDouglas, Convair, Lockheed, Caravelle, many more Tuoplev's and Ilyushins, Dassault, Vickers, BAC1-11, Vickers, Tridents, etc.
There were many manufacturers over there, but nowadays most A/ are only Boeing and Airbus for the non regional airliners.

Why is it that for non regional airliners, Boeing and Airbus have the duopoly? (OK MD did merge into Boeing but this doesn't explain all). Is there a reason to explain this. Its must be really boring being a spotter nowadays as compared to 30 years ago .

Regards
BM
A man without the knowledge of his past history,culture and origins is like a tree without roots
 
MEA-707
Posts: 3666
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 1999 4:51 am

RE: Aircraft, Why Not More Manufacturers?

Thu Feb 08, 2007 1:29 am

Two main reasons;
- Due to technological development, economics of scale have become a more important factor. A production run of 100-200 aircraft could cover the R&D of 1950s-1960s airlines but nowadays, the more complicated wings, flaps, FBW, electronics and composities cost billions to develop, so the aircraft have to sell more to be successful. Imagine, if there were 5 or 6 big single aisle or widebody types, some would sell less then 300 and therefore not worth the effort any more. Lockheed and MDD found out the hard way.
- Open economy, end of the cold war. Before the Berlin wall came down, not only the Russians and eastern block countries were more or less forced to buy "their own product."
Until 1970, the english manufacturers knew BEA and BOAC more or less had to buy their aircraft and that the government would cover some losses. Same with Air France and the Caravelle. Fokker was kept alive by the willingness of the dutch government to help third world countries in the 1970s, lots of tax money was spent in donated F-27s and F-28s to Ghana, Bangladesh, Tanzania etc. This sort of policy also disappeared after the 1980s. Plus the end of the cold war more or less finished the Soviet industry.
nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
 
zschocheimages
Posts: 141
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2006 6:21 am

RE: Aircraft, Why Not More Manufacturers?

Thu Feb 08, 2007 2:02 am

It comes down to economics. Boeing and Airbus have a huge monopoly on the non RJ part of the market. Simple economics say that it is extremely hard for a company to enter a market in which there is a monopoly.

IMO Embraer is the best candidate to become a third major world player. I say this because they are starting to expand into the longer range/larger aircraft market. There is some debate as to whether E-Jets are RJ's or not. I think now that the E-Jets have taken hold of the 70-100 pax market, Embraer can start to expand into larger markets, if they feel it is in the best interest of the company.
Why fly with 2 engines when you can have 3?
 
User avatar
N328KF
Posts: 5810
Joined: Tue May 25, 2004 3:50 am

RE: Aircraft, Why Not More Manufacturers?

Thu Feb 08, 2007 2:49 am

Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 1):
Plus the end of the cold war more or less finished the Soviet industry.

To be fair, I think the ongoing merger of Tupolev, Ilyushin, Yakovlev and Sukhoi (along with military-specific Mikoyan) has, in effect, created a much stronger Russian national champion with a complete product line. I think Beriev is involved there, too. So now you have one company with everything from 65-seat RJs through widebody long-haul airliners, with giant amphibious expertise to boot.

EDIT: I forgot about the Il-114 (replacement for the Il-18) — so add regional turboprops in there, too. So in reality, they have a much more comprehensive product portfolio than Airbus or Boeing, though they lack a non-amphibious VLA.

[Edited 2007-02-07 18:55:53]
When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' -Theodore Roosevelt
 
MEA-707
Posts: 3666
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 1999 4:51 am

RE: Aircraft, Why Not More Manufacturers?

Thu Feb 08, 2007 3:00 am

Quoting N328KF (Reply 3):
created a much stronger Russian national champion with a complete product line

They have some interesting developments... I love Russian planes but everyone has to admit the production after 1990s plumeted, there are still some unsolved problems regarding actual financing and production. After 15 years, only 15 to 40 of the most types like the Il-96, Il-114, An-140 and Tu-204 have actually been built!
nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
 
ikramerica
Posts: 13760
Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 9:33 am

RE: Aircraft, Why Not More Manufacturers?

Thu Feb 08, 2007 3:15 am

-MD made mistakes after the M managers started shorting the budget of Douglas commercial aircraft. They made some mediocre products, and lost out. I suppose the US government could have prevented the merger with Boeing, but with the strength of Airbus growing through euro government support, there was a case to be made for a stronger competitor.
-Lockheed made mistakes with the L1011 and gave up
-Airbus, through government support, like most socialist government supported businesses, knocked the little guys out of the game who had real market forces to contend with. It made no sense in the EU climate for a new player in Europe to even consider a competitor product. It made more sense for a company to seek Airbus contracts to make parts...
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.