leading position is being challenged by a new force in the field: the European consortium known as
Industrie.Europe had a long history of leadership in aviation and in commercial aircraft, but the various jet airplanesthey designed proved to be inferior, in economic terms, to those of Boeing and Douglas so by the late 1960sthe two U.S. producers held 90% of the business. In reaction a multinational company,
Industrie, wasestablished by Britain, Germany and France in 1970 to reduce dependence on“foreign”equipment,facilitate survival of a struggling European aircraft industry and address a market opportunity not being metby the Americans.The market opportunity existed because, following the launch of the Boeing 747, American Airlines askedfor a twin engine,
airplane that could operate on domestic routes particularly out of LaGuardiaAirport in New York. Both Douglas and Lockheed answered the request, but both proposals evolved duringthe design stage into three engine airplanes, the DC-10 and L-101 1 respectively, which were too large to meetthe American mission requirements.
stayed with the original idea and entered the business with a two
airplane called the A-300. As it turned out, many years would pass before Americanbought the A-300, and then not specifically for use at
but there was a market for the airplane andwith it the
had a slow start. Between 1974, when the first A-300 entered service, and 1979 only 81 airplanes weredelivered. However, with their government backing they were able to stay the course, and during the 1980s
developed the smaller A-310
and then the first of its line of narrowbody airplanes, the
320. These were followed in the 1990s by several more wide and narrow body models, and today
delivers over 25% of all commercial jets and is the only company other than Boeing to have developed aproduct line that covers almost all of the size and range requirements of the world’s airlines. Their marketshare is expected to grow to between 35% and 40% in the years to come, making them a formidablecompetitor for Boeing in an industry that has consolidated into just two large companies.
The Physics of Flight
We have used terms such as jet and turbo-prop that need to be explained. These, of course, are the engines that are mounted on the airplane, but to explain them we need to explain an airplane,as strange as that may sound. For any airplane to operate it must deal with four forces: thrust, drag, lift andweight (gravity), with thrust being the key. Thrust is the power driving the aircraft forward, and it not onlymust overcome the reverse force of drag caused by the density of air (your hand held out a car window ispushed backward by this force) but must also, in conjunction with the shape of the wing, provide the aircraftwith enough lift to allow it to overcome its weight and become airborne.In flight all four forces are active all the time since an airplane operates in three dimensions and not just thetwo, represented by thrust and drag, we encounter in daily life on earth. (A scuba diver knows thatfunctioning in three dimensions is very different from two
neutral buoyancy is all about balancing lift andweight, something we never have to think about on land.) In airplanes thrust is a function of the engines, andthe guiding principles of engine and airplane development have been summed up by aeronautical engineersin three words: higher, farther, faster. For the rest of us the more conventional words are altitude, range, andspeed.
One of the more famous airline accidents in history came on March 3 1, 1931 when a TWA wood and fabric Fokker tri-motor
went down in Kansas killing all aboard including the legendary Notre Dame football coach Kunte Rockne. Up to that timethere had been a fierce debate over whether wood or metal was the better material for building airplanes. When wood rot was
found in the wing of the Rockne airplane the debate was over and all subsequent airplanes were made of metal.
THE AIRLINE MONITOR