There is no indication that Airbus performs these kind of stunts.
There most certainly is: The A380 Amedeo "order" for 20 A380's.
Only years later did it become known that this was only a marketing option that if Amedeo found people willing to long term lease an A380 that Amedeo had an option to purchase up to 20 A380's for such leases.
Yep, stunt indeed. That Amedeo "order" stayed on the books for many years and was made to disappear into thin air at Airbus's convenience.
I'd like to think the current regime is better than the baloney castle era one, but this launch without orders and orders without signed contracts stuff makes me think they are not.
Airbus have launched programmes before without orders and are quite within their rights to do so.
They clearly had an Authority to Offer, as they have received responses.
Are you genuinely suggesting that the ALC LOI is a phantom in the same way that the Amedeo A380 order was - designed to give the illusion of propping up an entire programme that was at death's door?
Do you think that the A350F is sufficiently inadequate or ill-aimed to require that support (notwithstanding SUH giving it a pretty strong endorsement)
What do you really think the likelihood is of ALC not coming through with the firm order are?
Do they have a track record of doing so?
I certainly agree that it can take a long time to migrate from an MOU/LOI
From memory, the huge EK 777X order was "ordered" at the 2013 DAS, but did not appear in the Boeing order book until July 2014 according to the Boeing website.
It also took a long time for the last of the 737-10 MAX orders/conversions to finally hit the books
But they pretty much all did, eventually.
From my seat, this all looks like very ordinary normal business for a new derivative
Personally I think the A350F ticks a box that it's smaller sibling, the A330F didn't.
I think the A330F fell down the crack between the hugely demanded code D freighters like the 767 and A300, and the big code E freighters like the 777 and the 747. It is too much physical aircraft for what it lifts (which I think the 787 would also be, for the same reasons)
The A350F might be code E, but it lifts 100+ tonnes as opposed to the 60 odd of the A330F.
Solid product IMO, and a nice fit both for the dedicated freighter firms, and big airlines that already operate the A350
I'm going to make a prediction that Amedeo don't get to order any A350F's