29 Nov 2007
Boeing’s newest baby, the Dreamliner 787 also dubbed as the Greenliner by its marketing gurus for its claim to less carbon emissions, hasn’t gone well with the critics, most noticeably the prestigious Guardian.
The Guardian has come out with the harshest review of the Dreamliner 787 which has not only received raving reviews, but record number of orders ever as well. The Guardian even dismisses the media launching of Dreamliner 787 as ‘nothing more than rolling an airplane out on to some tarmac, having it filmed and photographed, then putting it back in its hangar.’
The aircraft manufacturers, however, have a lot on their side as far as facts are concerned to counter the green activists. Aircrafts contribute just 2% of the CO emissions of the entire world, far below the leading pollutants: the vehicles, followed by cows! Yes, cows. According to a BBC report, cattle release a lot of methane from all ‘openings’ when digesting their food which is a leading ozone destroyer.
The fact, as pointed by the Guardian, that the low percentage of aircraft emissions is due air travel not being widely used anywhere (in UK alone a mere 13% of the population makes use of it) in the world is largely ignored, as well as the fact that a growth of 5% in air travel is taking place every single year which more than offsets the meager reductions in air pollution claimed by the Dreamliner 787 team.
So what does the Guardian attack mean for the Dreamliner 787? Not much. The Dreamliner 787 has already firmly entrenched itself in the minds of its consumers as the green aircraft. Some of its brand associations are devoid of aluminum, lightweight carbon composites, 20% more fuel efficient, aerodynamically superior, and environment friendly. It would take a Herculean moronic effort on the part of Boeing to lose this essence which it has built with a brilliant publicity stunt, glamorized all the more by CNN’s eclectic Richard Quest.
So is Guardian shooting arrows in the dark? Yes and no. It’s a lost cause as far as the Dreamliner 787 is concerned. Once a consumer is led to believe a certain thing, he seldom changes his mind. The consumer is always right, that is, in his own mind. If you want to cast a positive or negative perception of something in his mind, you’ve got to be the first. Boeing got there first (and that also with a bang), with free help from the media, so it’s what Boeing says that counts in the prospect’s mind, and not Guardian.
However, with all the ‘green’ campaigns going on, Guardian has a lot on its side as far the industry as a whole is concerned. The fact that jet fuel is still untaxed, aircraft consumers remain immune to those taxes which motorists are subjected to, and that there is no VAT in buying or servicing an aircraft combined with a movement to give a Green rating to every corporation depending on how environment conscious it is can be snowballed to give a headache to the duopoly of Airbus and Boeing. The trick is to start putting a squeeze on the airlines and the ripple effect would take care of the aircraft manufacturers.