Markets
BA

Instant Analysis: Airbus' Abortive A350 Flight

What happened?

Friday the 13th is supposed to be bad luck for everyone, but it was Sunday the 13th that brought bad news to Airbus . That was the day Qatar Airways tried to show off one of its shiny new Airbus A350 widebody jets in the plane's inaugural U.S. flight. But the attempt nearly ended in disaster.

As reported on Yahoo! Finance , everything started out A-OK for the Qatari A350, as it rocketed down the runway at JFK, preparing to launch into a 12-hour trip to Qatar's Hamad International Airport. Instead, about 18 seconds into its takeoff run, the plane suddenly, unexpectedly, and automatically slammed on its brakes of its own volition, bringing the plane to a "startling and screeching halt."

Frightened and confused (but fortunately uninjured passengers) understandably wanted to deplane after the incident, but QA flight staff instructed them to remain in their seats. The plane eventually turned around, tried again, and took off successfully -- two hours later.

Does it matter?

Initial analysis of the incident suggests that the A350's onboard computers inexplicably decided for themselves that JFK's 11,000-foot runway was too short to permit a takeoff. That was obviously incorrect, as the plane did eventually take off. This suggests that what we're looking at here is a software glitch rather than a design flaw, and a glitch that is probably easily fixed.

Granted, there's certainly a risk that this or other troubles not yet seen will crop up as Airbus rolls out its A350 deliveries. To date, only 11 out of 775 aircraft ordered by Airbus customers have been delivered, so there will be plenty of other opportunities for Airbus to stumble and for investors (and passengers) to become frightened. And, yes, if the problems get too frequent and generate too much negative publicity, there's a risk this will result in some order cancellations.

Remember, though, that Boeing had plenty of troubles itself with rolling out its 787 Dreamliner. That didn't prevent it from collecting orders for 1,142 units of the aircraft, however, or from delivering 354 of them. And if you haven't noticed, customer complaints have been few and far between since the initial months of the rollout.

My guess is that, just like Boeing with its marquee plane, Airbus will come through this just fine, and A350s will be filling the skies in no time.

The next billion-dollar iSecret

The world's biggest tech company forgot to show you something at its recent event, but a few Wall Street analysts and the Fool didn't miss a beat: There's a small company that's powering their brand-new gadgets and the coming revolution in technology. And we think its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early in-the-know investors! To be one of them, just click here .

The article Instant Analysis: Airbus' Abortive A350 Flight originally appeared on Fool.com.

Rich Smith does not own shares of, nor is he short, any company named above. You can find him onMotley Fool CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handleTMFDitty, where he's currently ranked No. 300 out of more than 75,000 rated members.The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days . We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .

Copyright © 1995 - 2015 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

In This Story

BA EADSY

Other Topics

Stocks

Latest Markets Videos

    The Motley Fool

    Founded in 1993 in Alexandria, VA., by brothers David and Tom Gardner, The Motley Fool is a multimedia financial-services company dedicated to building the world's greatest investment community. Reaching millions of people each month through its website, books, newspaper column, radio show, television appearances, and subscription newsletter services, The Motley Fool champions shareholder values and advocates tirelessly for the individual investor. The company's name was taken from Shakespeare, whose wise fools both instructed and amused, and could speak the truth to the king -- without getting their heads lopped off.

    Learn More