Since the announcement that the A380 won’t be in service until 2008, EADS shares have fallen 26% and it projects some E1.5bn of losses due to lateness. That’s about seven billion Euros off the balance sheet – ouch. Fortunately, there’s a very easy way to solve it.
The delays are apparently due to the wiring requirements of the consumer electronics onboard – seatback TV screen and so on.
Well, what if Airbus simply sacked its wiring guys, launched the planes into service NOW, and just bought every passenger something to play with – up to E500 in value? A free Xbox whenever I travelled longhaul – I’d fly an A380 for that, even allowing for a check-in time where you need a calendar instead of a watch.
Think about it. Estimating 6m lost trips, EADS’ red ink already equates to some E1100 per ticket; you can get a Playstation or portable DVD player for far less than that, and with the planes in service you’re reducing those losses to E600.
And other opportunities unfold: brand the gadgets with an Airbus logo and you’re getting some free advertising too, not to mention how full your planes would be when every traveller gets an automatic going-away gift and the local electronics wholesalers experience a mini-boom. (No need to ask for them back; you’re saving money on fuel and servicing every time a passenger takes his own gear home.)
Hey, it beats Air Miles. But if they gave away XDA Execs would you be allowed to use them onboard?