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Airbus offers a 2fer

Lisa Napoli Apr 20, 2007

Airbus offers a 2fer

Lisa Napoli Apr 20, 2007

KAI RYSSDAL: If you were gonna do some shopping this weekend, I can save you some serious money. There’s a big two-for-one sale going on. It’s not for expensive cereal or cashmere sweaters. Try nice-looking, midsized commercial jets. Airbus has a new, low, low price on its A-350. Only $100 million. Marketplace’s Lisa Napoli explains.

LISA NAPOLI: For one thing, Airbus has Boeing envy. The rival company has managed to rack up more than 500 orders for its midsized fuel-efficient Dreamliner. That’s made it the fastest-selling commercial airplane in history.

Demand hasn’t exactly soared for Airbus’ Dreamliner wanna-be, the A-350. John Infanger of Airport Business magazine says a deep discount might do the trick:

JOHN INFANGER: Desperate times call for desperate measures, really. They have to move product at Airbus right now.

It’s not just the midsized A-350 that’s causing problems for Airbus. The giant cruise ship with wings called the A-380 has been a real albatross. The supersized plane is two years behind schedule.

Vhaid Motevalli of George Washington University’s Aviation Institute says it could have been a contender:

VHAID MOTEVALLI: I think both airplanes have a very good niche market. The problem is Airbus didn’t deliver.

Professor Richard Gritta teaches aviation at the University of Portland. When he heard about the two-for-one discount, he called Airbus the “Ross Dress for Less” of aviation.

Except for the fact that the economics of the plane business are a bit different:

RICHARD GRITTA: They don’t have the kinds of margins that retail clothes or shoes would have.

But the Airbus sale is sure to help some customers in the checkout line. Word is Emirates Air is about to buy 100 of the A-350s next week.

In Los Angeles, I’m Lisa Napoli for Marketplace.

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