The commercial airline industry is one of the most volatile, dog-eat-dog enterprises in the world, and in the late 1990s, Europe’s Airbus overtook America’s Boeing as the preeminent aircraft manufacturer. However, Airbus quickly succumbed to the same complacency it once challenged, and Boeing regained its precarious place on top. Now, after years of heated battle and mismanagement, both companies face the challenge of serving burgeoning Asian markets and stiff competition from China and Japan. Combining insider knowledge with vivid prose and insight, John Newhouse delivers a riveting story of these two titans of the sky and their struggles to stay in the air.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Boeing Versus Airbus|
|Release Date: 01-16-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||Boeing Versus Airbus|
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Boeing Versus Airbus
Being Number One
In the aircraft business, as in a Trollope novel, things are often not what they seem. In the 1980s, Boeing still reigned supreme. Its airplanes covered the market. Its product support was exemplary. Boeing was universally judged one of America's best and most admired companies, partly because its sales abroad of big commercial airplanes were the country's biggest export, and partly because it had learned to build these airplanes better, faster, and cheaper than anyone elso had done. "World-class" was Boeing's lofty but accurate characterization of itself.
The competition was barely visible. McDac had entered its steady but terminal decline, and in Seattle, Boeing's home base, Airbus was seen as just another in a long line of European wannabes that would stay in the game only as long as a consortium of governments remained willing to throw vast sums of money at a seemingly certain loser. Today, things have turned around. Boeing and Airbus are the sole suppliers of big airliners, but over many of the past twenty years, the two companies were moving in opposite directions. Boeing's multiple troubles, most of them self-inflicted, signaled an end to its dominance and pointed up Airbus's methodical rise.
Things had begun to change in the late 1980s. And it was no joke when, on April 1, 1993, Moody's downgraded Boeing's debt rating for the first time in the company's seventy-six-year history. Still, as late as 1990, Boeing held 62 percent of the market, McDonnell Douglas 23 percent, Airbus just 15 percent. Today it's very different. McDonnell Douglas is gone, having been absorbed by Boeing in August 1997. In 2004, Airbus