The Airbus A380 and the Boeing 747 are the flagship aircraft of the two biggest commercial plane makers in the world. But that doesn’t mean customers were rushing to buy them this year at Farnborough.
With a sluggish world economy and an equally challenged airline economy, carriers sent a loud and clear message…at least this year: We want smaller, more efficient planes.
But they are now openly admitting that is not going to happen.
“The big aircraft market has been slowing down,” Airbus sales chief John Leahy told Bloomberg in an interview at the Farnborough Airshow this week. The company’s target of selling 30 A380s this year was “looking like a stretch at this point,” Leahy added.
For the A380, it’s not just the economy that has seen sales suffer. A380 ‘wing-gate’ has scared customers off…at least until they know the problems are fixed permanently.
And that could take awhile.
The future could be outright bleak for Boeing’s updated 747-8 Intercontinental. There have been no orders for the legendary airplane in over a year. And there is an ongoing debate whether carriers even want a plane that is view as ‘old technology’, even though the ’8′ has been massively retooled.
But at the end of the day, we may be at the end of the big plane era…as sad as that might be.