Odds and Ends: Lufthansa on 747-8I vs A380; ExIm deal reached; not quite, Dan Rather
747-8 vs A380: While Boeing and Airbus engage in a long-running and unseemly war of words about whether the 747-8I is more economical than the A380–and each accuse the other of playing fast and loose with the data–the only opinion we consider that counts comes from the airlines. Lufthansa says the A380 is more efficient than the 747-8I on a seat-mile basis. This is what LH said years ago, before either airplane was delivered. End of story.
ExIm deal reached: It looks like a deal has been reached with Republicans to support extending the authority of the ExIm Bank and to raise the ceiling to $140bn. As readers of this column know, we were highly critical of the Republicans for opposing this funding mechanism for American business. Boeing benefits greatly–ExIm has been called “Boeing’s bank–” and that’s OK. The ceiling hike isn’t really enough for the three years, however; ExIm funds stuff at about the rate of $35bn a year (about $12bn of which are Boeing airplanes).
Not quite, Dan Rather: We just finished reading Dan Rather’s new book, “Rather Outspoken,” which chronicles some of his career. In it, he cites his “Dan Rather Reports” effort on the Boeing 787 composites questions about crash-ability and flammability as one of his hard-hitting, post-CBS, HDNet award-winning examples of his after-life from CBS. Except that his conclusion in his book is wrong.
“Our report shed light on what might otherwise have been swept under the rug,” Rather writes, referring to the questions raised about composites and safety. “It triggered a recertification process and caused Boeing to reluctantly acknowledge potential problems with the CFRP fuselage.”
Well, we don’t know about that; Boeing almost never admits a mistake and we certainly don’t recall one admitted here. But what we do know is that Rather’s following conclusion is flat-out wrong.
“In the aftermath, Boeing delayed delivery–seven times….These were better, safer airliners because Boeing had finally taken more time before delivery.”
There can be no other conclusion than Rather is taking credit for Boeing delaying the 787 seven times as a result of his report. And anyone who followed the 787 debacle knows that the seven delays had little or even nothing to do with Rather’s report, but rather (pun intended) because of the supply chain, industrial problems, and just plain screwing up.