Boeing Pouncing On Stumbling Airbus

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Analysts say Boeing may have to speed up production of Boeing 747s in light of the latest production delay of the Airbus A380. Airbus recently told customers the program has been delayed another 10 months and customer patience is wearing thin. Emirates, which has 45 of the 555-passenger jets on order, says it's considering "all options" and Virgin Atlantic is threatening to cancel its six-plane order. Singapore Airlines wants compensation for the delay. And all this makes the tried and true Jumbo, which is going through a makeover aiming to make it 21 percent more efficient, an appealing alternative.

But while Boeing's marketing department is having a field day, there's some question as to whether all this opportunity could actually turn into increased sales. According to Bloomberg News' analysis, Boeing got into trouble trying to boost production in the 1990s and it doesn't want to repeat the error. It may turn away business instead. "In this hot market, it would be easy to be consumed by the desire to sell everything that people want to buy, and push our production system to the point where we could break it,'' Scott Carson, who runs the commercial jet division, said at a Wings Club meeting in Seattle Sept. 27.