In the last few days, there has been a flurry of media news about Boeing, including today’s story from the Wall Street Journal that Air India places 50 jet order from Boeing, value $6 billion [sub required] and yesterday’s similar news in the WSJ that Boeing beats Airbus for crucial job: 96 jets ordered by Air Canada [sub required].
The challenge of writing about this turn of events also revolves around the first test flight of the much lauded Airbus A380 tomorrow. The BBC reports, in Airbus A380 to fly on Wednesday, that:
“European aircraft maker Airbus has scheduled the maiden flight of its giant A380 jumbo jet, the world’s largest passenger plane, for Wednesday. The first flight of the twin-deck aircraft has been keenly anticipated since it was unveiled at a glamorous and high profile ceremony in January. Airbus has invested heavily in the A380 and hopes it will defend its position as the leading passenger plane maker.”
What catches my attention is the challenge that Boeing blogger (and VP of Marketing) Randy Baseler faces now in writing about the events of the week, particularly given his pointed articles about Boeing versus Airbus. (in The Game Changer he criticizes the Airbus 350 as “derivative, late 1980’s design, and limited composite design” when compared to the “all new integrated design” of the Boeing 787, for example)
Oh, and to sprinkle another ingredient in the stew, the United States and European Union are fighting about who has been subsidizing which company. The EU accuse the United States of subsidizing Boeing illegally, while the US accuses the European Union of subsidizing Airbus illegally. Diplomatic talks broke down and, as the Beeb reports, “it looks as if both sides are heading for a showdown at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).” This wouldn’t be the first time the two companies sparred at the WTO either. It’s dry reading, but 2001’s Airbus versus Boeing Revisited: International Competition in the Aircraft Market [PDF] offers some interesting insight into the situation too.
So if you were Randy, how would you be framing your next weblog entry? Would you write about the sales wins, the tens of billions of new orders placed by Air Canada and Air India? And if you did, would you skip mentioning your primary competitor altogether, or would you reiterate your product advantages and opine that they’re what tipped the scale in your company’s favor?
Writing about the WTO dispute is something that’s probably more nuanced (and with more legal pitfalls) than would work in a blog, whether or not blogging is “the next big thing” or not. On the other hand, explaining Boeing’s perspective on the subsidies it receives from the U.S. Government and how it’s different than the subsidies that Airbus receives from the E.U. could be superb reading and an unusual opportunity to reach the public with important Boeing communication.
In fact, Randy has written about the dispute, framing it as cheating in a poker game: Five Card Draw. It’s a good presentation of these issues (though perhaps a bit long for a blog entry)
WTO or not, I’d definitely be writing about the sales wins for Boeing. It’s a perfect use for a corporate blog, even for a massive public firm like Boeing.
But that’s just me.
What would you write about, if you were in Randy’s shoes?