Essay on The A380 Project

Words: 4049
Pages: 17

Executive Summary
The Airbus A380 project is one of the most complex projects to ever happen. An aircraft of such large size and complexity would always have problems. Although problems are always anticipated during such a large project, the management involved with this project mismanaged many aspects. The project’s success can be examined using many project management aspects. This report will analyse in particular the areas of project scheduling, stakeholder management and project leadership within the A380 project. The project will also be assessed against project success methods to analyse its problems and lack of success. Prior to the release of the A380, it was hailed as an unparalleled symbol of European manufacturing prowess:
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In 2006, co-president of the European workers’ committee at Airbus, Jean-Francois Knepper, told journalists "Normally you need four to five years from the time you announce the launch of a new plane until delivery" (Clark, 2006). This statement could possibly be true as the A380 was announced in late 2000, and estimated delivery into service in early 2006, a time period of just over six years. However, this time frame is relatively small for such a complex airliner with 100,000 different wires, which is 40,000 more than the A340, totalling 530 kilometres in length and a fuel system that is said to be ‘three to four times more complex than that of the A340’ according to Christopher Slack, Analysis Expert within Airbus Fuel Systems (Mathswork, 2013; Clark, 2006).
For such a complex, new innovative airliner, more time had to be given to complete assembly and deliveries. This is backed up by a representative of the French workers union, Force Ouvrière, who stated that “Airbus had never built a plane of this complexity before, and yet managers did not take the precaution of building more flexibility into the delivery schedule." (Clark, 2006).
An overambitious production timetable for a record breaking superjumbo airliner was not a good idea in terms of external stakeholder management. Airbus used experience-driven estimation in a poor manner, as the previous projects completed by them were not as complex. A recommendation for Airbus