Whenever I read these kinds of threads, I always ask myself this question, if Airbus had to do it over, knowing what they know now, would they have done the A380 regardless?
But how would they get that sort of knowledge without going through the pain and screw-ups? Sure, if they could somehow magically avoid all the mistakes they wouldn't make the mistakes, but that is a circular argument.
The A380 was an extremely expensive way to learn how not to do certain things, and maybe how to do other things, but it's difficult to imagine a significantly less expensive way. Learning production lessons on a higher volume aircraft wouldn't necessarily be all that much better.
That's like saying my second marriage is such a success because my first marriage was such a failure.
I suppose that's something that can be true, but I would argue there are better ways to go about it, especially when we consider the point Faury is making about passing tech on to the A350.
IMO a lot of the tech that went into A350 could have been proven out other ways.
It's more believable from the non-tech, organizational structure point of view, but again, it's far from optimal.
The question should rather be what cost more in the end (i.e. both financially and reputationally):
The A380/A350/A320neo/A330neo or the 787/747-8/737MAX/777X/737MAX_grounding ?
The competitive business for Large Commercial Airliners (LCA) can be viewed through game-theoretical modeling, where decisions by one player are dependent on the moves expected of the other player. For example, in game-theory terms the response from Boeing vis-à-vis Airbus was very likely based up on the view that the A3XX/A380 was threat to Boeing's continued supremacy in the widebody category.
Boeing's initial response to the A3XX concept was the discontinued 747-500X/-600X programme that was initiated in order to stop the A380 dead in its tracks before it got traction in the market. Once the A380 was launched, Boeing responded with first, the Sonic Cruiser concept, and later, the 7E7/787 and 747-8.
Now, Boeing has a long history of seriously underestimating Airbus, primarily starting with the A320 in the mid 1980s. Boeing’s response was initially the 7J7 concept and only later, the 737NG. Boeing's early weight estimates for the 787 -- which turned out to be wildly optimistic -- clearly indicates that they thought the 787 would be so superior that it would do to the A330 what the 777-300ER already was doing to the A340-600. In fact, Boeing's strategy was designed to force Airbus to have to respond to the 777-300ER and 787, with one programme. It appears that Boeing never thought possible that a re-engined and updated A330 could compete with the 787 and that the primary response from Airbus (A350) would be able to compete nicely with both the larger models 787 and 777W follow-on.
Boeing estimates that the 787 will be 30,000 lb to as much as 40,000 lb lighter than the Airbus A330-200, depending on which of the following three 787 configurations is chosen
With the A350, Randy Tinseth & Co* seem to have actually believed in their own delusional talking points and probably never imagined how easily Airbus has been managing to increase the capability of both the A350-900 and A350-1000. In fact, based on their hard-earned lessons learned on the 787 (weight etc.), Boeing may have initially believed that Airbus would overshoot A350 XWB weight estimates by about the same percentage points as what Boeing experienced occurring with the 787. It's interesting to note, however, that nobody seems to ask the question why Airbus so easily and cheaply were able to neo
the A330, while Boeing was not able to do the same ting with the 777-300ER.
From the 787 and onwards, it appears that Boeing's game-theoretic models have lacked the compilation of comprehensive product dossiers detailing every aspect of their arch-rival’s aircraft that might possibly have concluded, that not only would a re-engined and updated A330 be able to compete with the 787, but that neither a souped-up 737NG and a re-winged 777 would be able to, respectively, compete properly with a re-engined A320 and a state-of-the-art, large composite twin family, nor any future derivatives of that family (i.e. A350-2000 etc.).
* “The A350-800 has failed, the -1000 has failed and all they have is a one-trick pony with the -900,” Tinseth told reporters. “The A330 was withdrawn 10 years ago because it couldn’t compete with the [Boeing] 777. The A350 has failed with the same engine [that Airbus is proposing to use for the A330neo.”