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Boeing Versus Airbusby John Newhouse
Synopses & Reviews
From the author of the classic study of the aviation industry, The Sporty Game, a new book that chronicles the high-stakes rivalry between the world's two largest aircraft manufacturers — companies that will bet the house on a single airplane.
Long one of America's most successful and admired corporations — and its biggest exporter — Boeing struggled to maintain 50 percent of the market share for commercial aircraft after being overtaken by the European upstart Airbus in the late 1990s. But Airbus did not remain on top for long. By 2006, the company suffered from mismanagement and had adopted the kind of complacent, risk-averse culture that had once characterized its competitor.
Incorporating interviews he conducted throughout the industry — with everyone from company leaders, past and present, and Wall Street analysts to design engineers and factory workers — John Newhouse takes us inside these two firms to help us understand their struggle for supremacy in a business based as much on instinct as on economics. He examines the critical issues that Boeing has faced in recent years, including its difficult merger with McDonnell Douglas, its controversial move from Seattle to Chicago, and a series of corporate scandals that made front-page news. And he analyzes the troubles that have beset a once ascendant Airbus, notably an institutional structure aimed at satisfying the narrowly focused interests of its European stakeholders. Newhouse also explores the problems that now face Boeing and Airbus alike: potential competition from China and Japan, the challenge of serving burgeoning Asian markets, and the need to undo years of mismanagement.
Boeing Versus Airbus is a fascinating, informed, and insightful tale of success, and failure, in the turbulent, do-or-die world of the aircraft industry.
"In this update of his 1982 study of the aviation industry, The Sporty Game, Newhouse takes us inside the seesaw battle between the world's two remaining manufacturers of big airliners. 'Mighty Boeing and the arriviste Airbus,' both massive corporations and emblems of national pride, are worth exploring at length. Yet while the former New Yorker writer has invested a tremendous amount of effort in interviews and research, he fails to assemble his facts, quotes and informed judgments into a coherent story. Newhouse introduces a fleet of issues: international sensitivities, cost overruns, governance structure, missed deadlines, the U.S. airline crisis, purchase negotiations, engine mechanics, government subsidies, the economics of plane size, the composition of airplane wings. But his touch is too light. Strong personalities — most prominently, Boeing's controversial CEOs — flit in and out, never quite coming to life; the planes themselves fare no better despite pages of description. The thousands who work in the airplane and airline industries may enjoy the details; the rest of us — even frequent fliers — might not be as interested." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"There have been several books in recent years about the Boeing-Airbus rivalry, most written by Europeans who have taken Airbus' rise over the past two decades as evidence that the once-great Boeing can no longer compete. Newhouse begs to differ, and his contention gains credibility from some recent setbacks in the development of Airbus' much-publicized super-jumbo plane, the A380." Newsday
The commercial airline industry is one of the most volatile, dog-eat-dog enterprises in the world, and in the late 1990s, Europe's Airbus overtook America's Boeing as the preeminent aircraftmanufacturer. However, Airbus quickly succumbed to the same complacency it once challenged, and Boeing regained its precarious place on top. Now, after years of heated battle and mismanagement, both companies face thechallenge of serving burgeoning Asian markets and stiff competition from China and Japan. Combining insider knowledge with vivid prose and insight, John Newhouse delivers a riveting story of these two titans of the sky andtheir struggles to stay in the air.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
John Newhouse covered foreign policy for the New Yorker throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. He has served as assistant director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and was senior policy adviser for European affairs in the U.S. State Department during the latter half of the Clinton administration. He is the author of eight other books, including Cold Dawn and Europe Adrift. He lives in Washington, D.C.
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