SheikhDjibouti wrote:Would it be fair to characterize the whole 747 program by saying;
"many of its early orders were from one American airline which at the time was the de facto flag carrier for the USA, and had vested interests in buying US goods"?
Take Pan Am out of the picture, and what's left? Oh yeah, decades of success with every major airline in the world. But we won't mention that!
Since you point out exact phrasing of sentences, I'll point out you've now shifted your emphasis from its origin being a "focus" for A300 to origin being the "whole story" of the 747.
Still, I don't find the focus on the origin story of the 747 to be objectionable. Origin stories are huge. The Book of Genesis. How Harry Met Sally. How Daddy met Mommy. I think it's pretty natural to focus on them, not sure why that gets push back when we talk about A300, unless there's something people are ashamed of. Maybe Mommy and Daddy eloped?
The problem with your rendering of the 747 story is PanAm wasn't owned by the US Government, nor was Boeing. The tax payers had no skin in the game. That's a key element of the story you've dropped out of the picture.
Even still I don't find it objectionable that its origin story be focused on, because without Trippe offering to buy 25 on a hand shake deal it may have never happened.
SheikhDjibouti wrote:Shall we discuss the US Government bankrolling the 707 program by purchasing over 800 KC-135s? What was it you said? "Getting to 80 customers with such a start is not something to shout about, IMO"
Again, your rendering is off. The story starts with Dash-80, the prototype Boeing built with its own money. Lockheed was already chosen by USG to build the first jet tanker, the KC135 purchase was just to fill the need till the Lockheed effort was ready. The KC135 contract was the result of being best of breed in a competitive market and winning the business on merit.
SheikhDjibouti wrote:How about Vickers building the Viscount, Vanguard, and VC-10, all on the back of production lines and drawing offices created to produce thousands of Spitfire fighters and Wellington bombers?
That's how things are supposed to work. You win a contract in a competitive environment to build something the government needs. What you do with the resulting profits is up to you. Investing them in commercial spin offs is a natural thing to do.
The key difference is that you're building something the government needs in a competitive environment, not being given a gift. Equating government contracts to gifts is absurd. Sure there are rewards, but you have to earn them by building a product the government needs. And there are risks involved. Ask Airbus how A400M went. Boeing is losing money on the "gift" KC46 contract. Lockheed lost lots of money on the tanker it built to compete with KC135. It's totally different than here's a bag of money, enough to build a state of the art product, you guys go out and enter a commercial market, and here's the numbers for the heads of our government owned airlines too.
SheikhDjibouti wrote:Is there an aircraft company anywhere that hasn't benefitted from Government orders (for military purposes)? Airbus is almost unique in that respect.
In fact with A400M deep in the red Airbus may be unique in only losing money on government business... That's not how it's supposed to be done.
SheikhDjibouti wrote:BTW It wasn't the fact the A300 saw service with 80 varied customers that was the issue. My point was that 80 qualifies as "many", whereas two is most definitely not.
Again we circle back to the importance (or lack thereof, in some people's mind) of the origin story. The early customers were state airlines which let all future customers know the governments were fully behind the program and would not let it fail. Those two customers matter far more than the remaining 78.
It's the same as the RLA argument. I think it's a far better deal to be given a big lump of money right up front as the program is being formed and other finances are being arranged then being able to pay back if and when you deliver product years later rather than getting percentage discounts on local taxes that you pay right from the start as the program is being developed till the resulting facilities are withdrawn from service and every day in between. It also shows the governments are fully engaged in the program which is a signal to other financiers that it is safe to invest in the program. If the program doesn't meet its goals like A380 and A340-500/600 the government eats a loss. If the program exceeds goals like A320 you quietly renegotiate the deal without releasing the details of how much of a hit the government is taking due to commercial sensitivities, and no one seems to care. It's pretty much a win-win-win-win situation.