The Paris Air Show got off to an awkward start for Airbus yesterday when its display A380 damaged its wingtip on one of those buildings placed just a little too close to the taxiway for comfort. Not a big deal but of course an opportunity for the thing some members of the media like best,- a bit of derision.
The Times, describing the incident as "a spectacular own goal" relates that it "was in danger of eliminating the A380 from the aviation industry's premier event". It does then get back on track with relating that "Airbus has been able to borrow an aircraft from Korean Air" and then veers off again by finishing up with ."... to perform stunts" as the original aircraft "can still fly but would not have been capable of low altitude stunts". What, we wonder, did they have in mind ? A high profile airline supremo and a clutch of stewardesses standing on the wing as it ballel rolled past the enclosures? Short take offs ,steep climbs and tight turns yes, but stunts? We think not. Come on the former top people's paper,- could we be just a little less tabloid?
Meanwhile, far more grimace-forming in the Airbus box will have been the news that Air China has ordered 15 of Boeing's ultimate stretch of the 1960s 747,- the -8i. That order would have been a nice little booster for the state of the art A380 which is only just beginning on what looks like a long life of further development and stretches towards being the definitive 1,000 seater.The wings are there so it's just for engines and fuselage length to follow. Airbus should not fret though. This one looks far more to do with a nod towards the US/China trade imbalance arguments than necessarily the merits of one aircraft against the other.