One of my favourite blogs out there is Randy’s Journal, from the VP of Marketing at Boeing. More than just liking his approach to the aviation industry, I think the tone and voice with which his blog is consistently authored is one of the more genuine and credible executive blogs in the marketplace today. As such, I routinely use it as an example of blog tone and voice that some of our clients should consider looking at. It manages to be friendly and engaging without feeling overtly marketing or PR oriented. Recently he posted on another competitive point of difference between Boeing and Airbus – the facts about payload weight and efficiency of the new flagship carriers that both companies are betting their futures on … the A380F from Airbus versus the 747-8F from Boeing. After reading this post, unless you work for Airbus or have some deep seated affiliation … you are probably going to be swayed to Boeing’s point of view.
In a recent NY Times article, the Travel section featured a piece on the new "secret" proposal that Airbus has in to create standing room only seats for short haul flights. Doing so will allow airlines to fit more passengers on a plane … but has many opponents for obvious reasons. This is just another example of how Airbus’ marketing and business strategy is off target with the trends in the aviation and travel industry. These trends are not difficult to spot:
- Cost of fuel is rising
- Competition is driving average ticket price down on domestic flights (US and elsewhere)
- Airports are more crowded and increased security makes the travelling slower
- Consumers are discontent with levels of service and comfort of flying experience
To respond to these, Airbus is betting their long term strategy on bigger and heavier fuel-guzzling planes carrying more passengers per flight using already crowded hub city airports (and requiring airports to build bigger terminals and runways to accomodate them). Boeing has more efficient slightly smaller planes, that allow domestic and international carriers to use more point to point direct flights. One of the great points Randy makes on his blog is that Airbus’ sticking with this mega-plane model in the long run will not only be inefficient in the air, it makes the processes of checking in, going through security and all the other pieces of air travel more crowded and tougher than ever. In the end his matter of fact style and openness are a boon for Boeing in countering every Airbus marketing message. Randy is the ultimate brand evangelist. I can’t wait to see what he writes about their passenger standing "seat" scheme …