+44 (0) 20 3265 1052 or Email me
Workers at Airbus in Toulouse are gloomily predicting redundancies, as sales for their most successful aircraft, the A300 and A310, show signs of decline. One assembly line for the A300, first launched exactly 35 years ago, has already been closed with the loss of 150 jobs but Airbus intends to relocate everyone elsewhere in the company.
Although 13,000 work for Airbus in the UK, primarily on wing production, the British firm BAE Systems wants to dispose of its 20% stake in the company. EADS, which owns the remainder, is itself in a state of flux. Its two largest shareholders, Daimler Chrysler and Lagardère, have each quietly begun to dispose of part of their stock. Daimler has been told in no uncertain terms by its bankers to concentrate on its core business of making cars. Lagardère is now best known as a media group and owning a stake in an airline manufacturer makes no sense strategically.
This leaves Airbus heavily dependent for future funding on the success of its A350, scheduled to make its first commercial flight in 2010, a belated competitor for the Boeing 787 ‘Dreamliner’, due to enter service next year, which offers considerable fuel savings. The large airline leasing company ILFC has already told Airbus that the projected performance figures for the A350 are simply not good enough.
From our July 2006 newsletter