While the pessimism is understandable, actions speak louder than words and Airbus latest actions seem to indicate they are optimistic about the programs future…
Actually, Airbus's latest words
seem to indicate they are optimistic about the program's future, their latest actions
are that they are keeping the same
targets for A220 that they have had for several years (aiming for 14/year by 2025, not going to increase investment till the program shows it can stand on its own financially) while increasing
production of A320 by creating a new FAL at TLS.
To me it's spin to label this as pessimism. I think it's realism
. Surely Airbus has hopes for the future of the program (as do I, believe it or not), but the evidence is that those hopes aren't on the scale that some here like to suggest. For instance, remember all those A220 at WN threads? Airbus was going to do what it took to earn the ~300 orders that ended up being MAX7, that would drive the volume A220 needed to compete with MAX and A320, yada yada. Turns out that was nonsense. We could have known it at the time if we just listened to what WN's CEO was saying instead of the inflated, imagined projections being made here on a.net. Now let's just listen to what Scherer has estimated
, the stretch might
happen in a time frame of about
five years. I think that should be enough guidance, no need for inflation or exaggeration or "recycling" threads to try to get something new out of old news.
As you say, Airbus' actions are to commit to the expansion that they targeted prior to Covid - and one which they say puts them in the black.
Accepting that increasing throughput reduces cost, I think there is also a dynamic that they'd rather produce fewer planes until the supply chain cost challenge bears fruit - can't prove that.
There's no question that Airbus are increasing NEO production.
In terms of the A220-500 debate, though, it might be worth pointing these statistics out ....
the A320NEO order book has grown by 550 frames, and 1,300 have been delivered - i.e. the backlog has fallen
by 750 frames
the A321NEO order book has grown by 2,600 frames in the same time, with 600 delivered - i.e. the backlog has grown
by 2,000 frames
In the last 3 years..
the A320NEO order book has fallen
by 330 frames, and 800 have been delivered - i.e. the backlog has fallen
by 1,130 frames
the A321NEO order book has grown
by 1,300 frames in the same time, with 470 delivered - i.e. the backlog has grown
by 830 frames https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus_A3 ... deliveries
Note that with the orders, the linked wiki page does not reflect the large conversions from A320NEO to A321NEO that have occurred.
I've had to refer to records from the O+D spreadsheets I've saved from Q4 2018 for the last 3 year stats
In that context, its not impossible to imagine that the A320NEO will gradually run out of steam in its current form, and that production will focus increasingly on the more profitable A321NEO and possible A322.
According to the articles linked, Airbus have said an A220-500 launch could occur in 5 years.
That sounds like prudent option planning to me.
40 x A220-300 and -500 per month and 50 x A321NEO and A322 NEO in a decades time could be a very profitable reality.
Not saying that will happen.
But I'm not saying it won't either.
The A220 is definitely a financial marathon, not a sprint. Just like every other airliner programme this millenium.
Outside of the A320NEO itself, of course
Focussing on the losses in current A220 production might not be "pessimistic", but it is "short termist" ...