Monday, 13 June 2011

Saj Ahmad, the Airbus-basher, and his A350 predictions: are they any good?

Saj Ahmad has a multi-year history of being a basher of all things about Airbus (except when he uses the A320neo, which he also has a history of bashing, to bash the one thing he hates ever more--the Bombardier CSeries).

All you have to do is check out and Google searches to see his venom toward Airbus, exceeded only by his buddy, the late Doug McVitie.

Ahmad's latest comes in an article on In it, he is quoted as follows....

“With Emirates, Etihad and launch customer for all three A350 variants, Qatar Airways, hoping that Airbus can avoid the pitfalls seen by Boeing on the 787, it appears increasingly likely that a series of crippling delays are inevitable for Airbus’ latest wide-body airplane,” said Saj Ahmad, Chief Analyst at FBE Aerospace, London."

"He said it is certain that the A350XWB airplane will be at least 18-24 months late with the subsequent A350-800 and A350-1000 models also being delayed by similar timescales."

“Airbus is still coming to terms with the problems and delays faced on the A380 programme and now with the A350 poised to slide as well, the big three Arab carriers, as well as leasing companies like DAE and ALAFCO will have to seriously consider their near-term capacity options,” Ahmad said."

On a high level, these comments may appear to be reasonable. However, his predictions that "it is certain" the A350s will be "at least 18-24" months late are awfully, to use his word, "certain." Only time will tell if this is correct, but remember that this comes from the same person who steadfastly refused to believe the Boeing 787 and the 747-8 were going to be late. Ahmad made excuses for Boeing through half the 787 delays and relented in his unremitting defence only after it became too embarrassing to defend the airplane. He followed a similar patter with the 747-8, refusing to concede delays were coming to this programme.

Although  he claims to be a sage analyst and particularly well connected to the Middle East (he boasts of his dual bases in London and the Middle East), Ahmad fails to realise that DAE Capital, the leasing company, is winding up its business and has been cancelling all its new orders. DAE doesn't care when the A350 is delivered. It will have cancelled all the orders well before the delivery date.

Will the A350 be delayed? Yes. Delivery schedules already slipped from the first half of 2013 to the second half. Will they be delayed "at least" 18-24 months, as Ahmad predicts? There is little in his history on predicting the 787 and 747-8 will be on time or that Airbus won't proceed with the A320neo programme, or that airlines and leasing companies won't buy the Pratt & Whitney geared turbo fan to give confidence that this prediction is any better than those.

1 comment:

  1. The thing is, how can anyone take him seriously? One of the recent articles on the now "invitation only" (= I only want to play with my mates, not anyone who has the gall to disagree with my World view) FleetBuzzEditorial site is titled "Airbus A320neo may be scrapped".

    I'd love to be able to ask him about that now Airbus has over 1,000 orders and commitments.

    Seriously, he's a joke.