Over the last decade, we’ve seen several new aircraft programs, each of which has suffered delays and exceeded both development timeframes and budgets. These programs, A380, 787, CSeries and A350, all created expectations for the development of new aircraft, which in the past were routinely a 48 month process. Today, a new aircraft program appears to be a 60-72 month process, with delays expected.
The current period of innovation introduced significant benefits to the industry – including the widespread acceptance of carbon fiber for structural use, more advanced systems and avionics including advanced fly by wire controls, plus innovations in engine technology that reduce both fuel burn and environmental impacts. But the innovation appears to be slowing down, if not stopping, at Boeing and Airbus, which are now taking a new approach. Once the A350 and CSeries are introduced, we don’t expect another new program to be announced for more than a decade.