An accessible portrait of the 25-year struggle for aviation supremacy,
This review is from: Flight Of The Titans: Boeing, Airbus and the battle for the future of air travel (Paperback)
Kenny Kemp's The Flight of the Titans delineates the 25-year struggle for aerospace supremacy between Boeing, a company that has long been accustomed to being top dog in its chosen business, and Airbus Industrie, the pesky and curiously-structured European challenger that is now threatening to knock Boeing off its perch.
With very different next-generation aircraft to sell, the two companies are locked in a struggle to persuade as many as possible of the world's airlines that their vision of the future will be better suited to their needs. Kemp gets under the skin of the two different companies to describe their sales techniques and to outline the differing merits of Boeing's offering (the 787 Dreamliner) and Airbus's (the double-decker A380).
The book opens with the 1955 launch of the de Havilland Comet, the world's first commercial jetliner (yes, that was a first for Britain) - and ends with petty recriminations over subsidies. The clear suggestion is that if the Americans need to rely on complaining about the alleged government subsidies for Airbus, then they must be rattled.
The book goes far beyond describing the niceties of aircraft design, manufacturing and sales to provide insights into the divergent approaches towards doing business in the US and Europe.
One of the things that I liked about this book was the way it conveys a lot of information about the history of the global aerospace business without every seeming like a dry work of history. Through the judicious introduction of colour, Kemp manages to bring the different episodes to life.