On 1 December Airbus made an innocent enough seeming announcement – it will upgrade its A320 series of planes to accept new engines, with the first such planes (dubbed the A320neo, as in ‘new engine option' and pictured here) due to enter commercial service in 2016.
As innocent and trivial as this statement might seem, it presages a huge game changer and may completely change the dynamics of the airplane building industry.
I waited for a substantive Boeing response. And waited. And waited. I can wait no more – there’s a story here begging to be told, and indeed, Boeing’s growing non-response adds to the interest of the tale.
So for a fascinating look at some hugely vital high stakes corporate gamesmanship, and how Boeing may have outsmarted itself, and to get a feeling for how the current cozy duopoly between Airbus and Boeing may be about to be ripped asunder by upstart competitors in Russia and China, please do read my new four part series, ‘Airbus Fires the First Shot in the New 737/A320 War’.
They’ll do case studies about this in business schools in the decades to follow. We are privileged to watch the drama unfold realtime, albeit at the glacial pace of modern airplane design and development.