Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Airbus chief: A380 and A350 assembly could be concentrated in Toulouse

Airbus chief: A380 and A350 assembly could be concentrated in Toulouse

Airbus is considering a transfer of A380 production work to France from Germany, and assembly of a planned A350 mid-sized jet could also be based at the company's Toulouse headquarters, Chief Executive Christian Streiff said in an interview published Thursday.
Streiff's comments, in an interview with French daily Le Monde, could raise concern among German unions already fearful that the A380 superjumbo's production crisis could lead to cuts in Germany, as work is concentrated on one site to save transportation costs and time.
Asked whether he planned to transfer A380 work to Toulouse from Hamburg _ where Airbus currently has an A380 paintshop, cabin-fitting plant and delivery center _ Streiff said: "Everything's possible but nothing's decided. I'm looking at all ideas."
Production changes will be discussed with workers and decided "in the best interest of Airbus," he said, within three or for months.
Airbus, which stunned investors in June by doubling the A380's production delay to one year, doubled it again to two years this week and said the accumulated holdups would wipe a total euro4.8 billion (US$6.1 billion) off operating profit for parent company EADS _ whose shares have fallen more than 38 percent from their March 13 peak.
"It will take us about 10 years to catch up with Boeing in terms of development and efficiency," Streiff also said in his interview.
EADS is buying out the 20 percent of Airbus it does not already own from Britain's BAE Systems PLC, after BAE's shareholders voted Wednesday to approve the euro2.75 billion (US$3.5 billion) sale.
Analysts warn that the financial squeeze on EADS, exacerbated by the weaker U.S. dollar, could compromise its ability to fund the planned Airbus A350 XWB, an euro8 billion (US$10 billion) mid-sized jet program designed to compete with U.S. rival Boeing Co.'s 787 Dreamliner.
In an interview published Thursday by the Financial Times newspaper, EADS co-Chief Executive Tom Enders confirmed that the problems could endanger the A350 program. "I cannot rule that out," he was quoted as saying.
Streiff said "it's for the board of EADS to decide" whether to go ahead with the official launch of the A350 XWB program, unveiled by Airbus at July's Farnborough Air Show.
But the plane is "crucial to the development of Airbus," Streiff also said. "It's difficult to imagine being absent from a segment that represents 40 percent of the market by value."
Airbus would seek to assemble the A350 on one of its existing lines rather than investing in a new one, Streiff added. "We could imagine assembling it in Toulouse and transferring the A330 and A340 to Hamburg," he said, referring to the Airbus widebody jets already in production.
Shares in European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. fell 3.3 percent to euro21.00 (US$26.64) in Paris trading.


Updated : 2021-06-20 21:27 GMT+08:00