Innovation Analysis Group has put up an interesting post--and chart--comparing the production rate of the Airbus A380 with the production rate of Boeing's 747 after it was introduced four decades ago. The key finding is that, while cumulative orders for the A380 are close to where the 747 was at the same point in its life cycle, "the major difference in the programs has been the ability to deliver." That production "gap" raises a lot of questions, IAG says.
One important factor left out of the analysis is Airbus' own decision to curtail production rates this year and next year because some of its customers are deferring deliveries to conserve cash. IAG notes this only to ask whether Airbus can take advantage of customer deferrals to more gradually increase output.
Still, with ILFC considering a cancellation of its A380 order, and the Thai Airways chairman quoted as saying his airline might cancel its order because the A380 is a "special mission plane" that is "not economically viable" for its network, the aircraft is not exactly on a good news cycle right now.