Robert Wall has this short article that raises an interesting point. Tom Enders, the CEO of Airbus, “bemoans” the slow pace of change in aviation. He is quoted as saying that the aviation industry has forgotten how to “take risks and manage” them properly.
There’s a lot to be said for that. Airbus had its own issues with the A380 production management and the A400M program design. It remains to be seen how challenging the A350 production becomes, but there is ample evidence that the challenges are just beginning.
Bombarier says its CSeries program is on time but margins are largely gone.
Boeing’s 787 and 747-8 and the commercial-defense KC-767 International programs were disasters. The 737 MAX design is already running later than Boeing originally suggested upon announcement (a matter of weeks so far) and Boeing is veering toward derivatives for the 737 and 777 rather than new airplanes in part because of the 787 and 747-8 delays and costs.
Airbus elected to proceed with a re-engined A320 rather than go for a new airplane.
Is Enders correct? Have OEMs lost their edge and are now going to play it safe?