"The decision to go ahead with the A380, which Williams admits “he was part of”, may have been a mistake. The company is breaking even on each one it makes but after multi-billion development costs Williams admits the programme “will never be profitable”. However, he notes the decision more than a decade ago to make the giant jet came at a time when Airbus saw “Boeing making a ton of money on the 747, exchange rates were different, the oil price was different”.
Things have changed at Airbus since the company was set up in the Sixties with backing from European governments to take on US dominance in aerospace, Williams claims. “The days when we did some projects for ego, valour or pride are gone,” he says.
Was the A380 done for these reasons? “I don’t know but it was probably on the cusp,” he says."
Overall its a pretty good interview that is really worth the read because it breaks down why this man is so well respected and deservedly so. It also talks about Airbus' relationship with suppliers and the problems that present themselves. He also as this funny quip:
“If someone said we can’t build the aeroplane because of the engine or the radar, some hi-tech product, I wouldn’t be sympathetic, but I could understand,” says Williams, who has a reputation for straight talking, unlike many of the slick operators often found in such senior roles.“But a toilet? It’s not even the clever bit of the toilet – the vacuum system – it’s the mirror or door,” he says. “It’s difficult for me to deliver an aeroplane without a toilet door. People are a bit conventional about these things.”
Ha! Conventional, right.
But the real takeaway from me is the talk about the A380. In one of the behind the scenes videos about the A380 program there was talk about it being done for ego but I have never heard it even hinted from this level of executive. Also, in the interview he expresses reservations about an A380neo; the article says he is 'circumspect'.