All the TV news broadcasts gave Airbus a wonderful free plug
last week with stories on the maiden flight of the huge Airbus 380 super jetliner in France. Nine’s Business Sunday even backed up on Sunday with
another go but tried to paint it as a war with comment from an executive of
Boeing UK.

Compared with the millions who watched the various
commercial and ABC broadcasts of the Airbus flight, the 100,000 or so watching
the first half of Business Sunday wouldn’t have mattered. But Business Sunday could have had a much better story and
given its free plug a note of credibility if someone had done some Googling.

Boeing last week revealed two huge orders for its new
787 airliner, and there are suggestions there are more to come. The orders were from Air Canada, Air India
and a possible third from Northwest of the US. There are orders for 200 787s,
but only 154 for the A380.

Airbus needs up to three times that number to make money and
Boeing has made up ground and could outsell Airbus this year for the first time
in several years.

Boeing is also planning an upgrade of its old 747 (it always
plans but doesn’t deliver on 747 upgrades) and it’s said the British
Airways, Cathay and Japan Airlines, may place orders if Boeing can
get its act together.

That would be a blow to Airbus and the A380 as those three
look like natural customers for the big Airbus.

Qantas is down for 12 A380s with options on another ten, and Sydney and Melbourne
airports will spend tens of millions of dollars widening and strengthening
runways, taxiways and building new aerobridges to handle the huge planes.

It would be a pity if this was all for a plane that very few
airlines wanted: that would have been the story on Sunday.

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW