Boeing Plays Pinocchio to Airbus

Pinocchio is a fictional character from a 19th-century novel. A Boeing 737 MAX is the fourth generation of the heavy-lifting but narrow-bodied 737 family. Only a frontline ad writer could pull them together using comedy to sell Airbus.

Here’s the backstory. (I’m cribbing from Bloomberg.)

Airbus and Boeing are fighting over sky-high chunks of the $70-billion aviation industry. Folks that buy aircraft read trade publications like Aviation Week and Flight. Airbus bought ads in the trades accusing Boeing of lying about the performance of their aircraft. Inflating it, presumably.

The Airbus ad is a really funny, viral-bound picture of a Boeing plane with a really, really long nose cone.

Apparently when you buy aircraft you look at data like the plane’s costs on a per-seat basis. (Is that why they sell premium economy in inches?) 737 Max claims their cost is less. Airbus says that’s why Boeing’s nose is growing.

What about safety? Well, they can’t talk about that. In the late 1990s, Airbus ads claimed their four-engine A340 was safer than the two-engine Boeing knockoff. But Airbus’ nose didn’t grow from breaking the secret rule that you can’t use safety to sell planes. (Oh, now I feel better.)

So bring in the non-partisan experts. They say no one knows until new aircraft log plenty of takeoffs and landings. (Like actual data.)

Wait, there’s something buried down near the end of the story. The Max won’t even be a test plane until 2015. Boeing hasn’t even settled on its “configuration” (design). I’m thinking a Boeing ad guy wrote the specs for the Max.

Hey Boeing, nice nose.

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