Re: BAe ATP performance

From:         spagiola@FRI-nxt-Pagiola.Stanford.EDU (Stefano Pagiola)
Organization: DSO, Stanford University
Date:         26 Jul 93 00:32:58 PDT
References:   1
Followups:    1 2 3
Next article
View raw article
  or MIME structure

> I have read that the British Aeorospace ATP has been selling
> rather slowly.  I would like to know if there are any reasons
> (other than a depressed market) for the low number of orders of
> these aircraft. The early advertisements suggested that the ATP
> was very fuel efficient which, I would assume, promote higer
> sales volumes of the this type of aircraft.

The ATP has been selling slowly from way before the market became  
depressed.  I think the reasons for its lack of success are two-fold:  
(1) although the aircraft is reasonably economic, it is too large for  
most turbo-prop markets.  60 seats is just too many; the only  
aircraft that has done well in this size range is the ATR72, which  
has the advantage of commonality with the smaller ATR42.
(2) The BAe marketing team has, over the years, proven remarkably  
inept at selling anything.

The two problems are, of course, related to each other: poor market  
analysis leads to both poor design choices and poor marketing.   
Another example is the BAe 146; BAe originally thought it would sell  
primarily on the strength of its small-field performance, to 3rd  
world countries.  Instead most of its sales have been on the strength  
of its quietness, to developed country airlines.  BAe thought the  
small 146-100 would be the most popular model; instead the -100 sold  
in very small numbers, with the larger -200 taking most of the  
orders; today most orders tend to be for the even larger -300.

These problems are then compounded by the problems inherent in any  
low-volume, slow-production program.  (1) you never get very far down  
the learning curve (a problem that BAe compounded by opening 2  
production lines); and (2) it takes a while for bugs to be sorted out  
(which gives you a rep as an unreliable airplane).

Stefano Pagiola
Food Research Institute, Stanford University (NeXTMail encouraged) (NeXTMail encouraged)