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A350? 7E7? What’s Going On?

I typically don’t bother talking about new plane launches here because it’s actually a pretty complicated topic that, frankly, I don’t know much about.  Even so, there’s been a rash of articles lately talking about new aircraft from Boeing and Airbus.  Here’s the short version:

A few years ago, Boeing and Airbus made bets on two different versions of the future of air travel.  Airbus said that airlines will want huge planes to go from one megahub to the the next and built the gigantic A380 to serve that niche.  All the while they bashed Boeing for its vision.  Some airlines have bought into this idea and have placed enough orders for the plane so Airbus could start production.

Boeing’s vision was for a slightly-less-than-supersonic airplane that would cut about an hour off flights to Europe.  If you’re not excited by that prospect, neither were any airlines.  Even so, they bashed Airbus for its giganto-plane idea.

So, Boeing changed its strategy for the future to a midsized super-efficient aircraft that will allow for profitable flying from midsized city to midsized city.  This plane, called the 7E7 or the Dreamliner, has sparked some interest from airlines. 

Now, Airbus, while not exactly saying that perhaps Boeing was correct, has announced that they will try to sell the A350, a more efficient version of the popular A330.  Sounds suspiciously similar to the 7E7, yes?  Northwest is rumored to be interested in purchasing the plane.

Whew.

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