Randy's Journal: Archives

30 January 2006

Not easy being green

I've heard of credit cards giving you cash back on your purchases, but how about cash back on a purchase of a huge commercial airplane?

Maybe you've seen the piece in Flight International. Basically, the story goes, Airbus says it can compensate for the higher operating costs of the A340 family vs. the 777 by giving customers "cashback deals." Airbus offers this idea in lieu of investing "billions" to get a better, more fuel-efficient A340.

Now, aviation blogging site, Enplaned, has dissected the story further. The entry goes into a great bit of detail and might be worth your while.

Enplaned raises some intriguing theories: the "cash back" could amount to as much as $25-30 million per airplane. And what about current operators of the A340? Will they be entitled to a rebate?

But the question that really has me thinking is the one about the environment. As the Enplaned blog points out, environmental issues matter very much to Airbus' customers (and to Boeing's, I might add). So if Airbus is willing to pay customers to buy an airplane with significantly added fuel burn and emissions, just how green are they?

Enplaned concludes with a tongue-in-cheek (I might say "biting") solution for the A340 problem: if Airbus is serious about the environment, the right thing to do is "to stop selling the A340 if it can't improve it."

I guess Kermit the Frog had it right when he said, "It's not easy being green."