Innovation and Product Evolution in Aerospace Supply Chain

Aerospace is always at the cutting edge of innovation while utilizing many disruptive business strategies. Especially today, the aerospace industry outsourcing of major parts of an airplane has become a norm; such a proactive strategy is based on sharing of risk, cost, skills, and expertise. Aircraft manufacturing companies, i.e. Airbus and Boeing, as well as aircraft engine manufactures, i.e. Pratt & Whitney, use such an approach to innovate and develop their products efficiently and effectively.

Going through the reading material, one could say that the main drive for innovation must be something more than originality; it must be all about value creation. Value creation that is not limited on the customer but extends to protecting the environment. However, what was intriguing to me is the case of the A380; an airplane that its size, its cost efficiency due to economy of scales, as well as its quality and service comfort to passengers was the reason to be awarded the Best Aircraft Type in 2015s US Global Travel Awards. Mr. Gordon, the Director of Strategic Marketing and Analysis, forecasted (Textbook, page 25) that in the next 20 years, it would be needed more than 1,000 A380s due to market growth on key routes.

Nevertheless, it seems that no one could have predicted that what seemed extremely innovative in its first years of operation, with great potential to add value to the aviation industry, could have been the main reason for its failure. Currently, the entire global fleet of A380s has been grounded due to the unprecedented drop in travel demand this year caused by the COVID19 crisis; without doubt, it could predict how many aircraft of this type will be flying after this pandemic is over. That is a somewhat ironic development to an airplane that was so evolutionary at its conception.

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