EADS meets with German officials over Airbus

5th October 2006, Comments 0 comments

5 October 2006, BERLIN - One of the two chief executives of the Airbus parent company EADS said Thursday it would take months to evolve the details of restructuring after a crisis over the giant A380 jet. Emerging from talks in Berlin with German officials, Thomas Enders said it was too early to say where cuts would take place after the "top-down" order from the EADS board for savings to be made. EADS remained committed to the German city of Hamburg as a manufacturing site for its planes and was not consid

5 October 2006

BERLIN - One of the two chief executives of the Airbus parent company EADS said Thursday it would take months to evolve the details of restructuring after a crisis over the giant A380 jet.

Emerging from talks in Berlin with German officials, Thomas Enders said it was too early to say where cuts would take place after the "top-down" order from the EADS board for savings to be made.

EADS remained committed to the German city of Hamburg as a manufacturing site for its planes and was not considering layoffs of the people working on the planes, but of those in support functions.

He indicated an "if" still remained over another costly Airbus project, the smaller A350 long-range jet to be introduced in 2010.

A review in the weeks to come would decide if Airbus had the financial and engineering resources "to really embark on this."

"Personally I do believe in the A350," said Enders, the German co-CEO at European Aeronautic, Defence and Space Co (EADS).

He spoke after talks with German Economics Minister Michael Glos and the premier and mayor of the state of Hamburg, Ole von Beust.

Airbus chief executive Christian Streiff, who had earlier been expected to speak for the company, did not attend.

Both government officials have voiced fears that Airbus will drop its job-creating plan to build empty A380 planes in Toulouse and fly each one to Hamburg to receive cabin interiors and wiring.

Although the double-decker aircraft has passed its flying tests, series production is being delayed many months while engineers in the German city train to use the same design software as Airbus uses at its main assembly plant in Toulouse, France.

A380 customers responded with anger to Tuesday's postponement of delivery, the third so far. Airbus said the root cause of the delay in installing electrical wires in its biggest jet was that employees were still learning to use software that records the wiring design.

An internal inquiry has been ordered into why the problem was not noticed sooner. Enders said Thursday the crisis was caused by blunders by the previous Airbus management.

A Munich law firm, Rotter, said meanwhile it had filed a damages suit against EADS on behalf of a small shareholder who alleges the company knew in February of the crisis but did not make an ad hoc statement to financial markets till October 3.

In Hamburg, an Airbus spokesman, Tore Prang, said meanwhile that plans to assemble the company's successful smaller A320 jet in China were on track and not affected by the crisis over the bigger plane.

"We are in the project phase. There are intensive talks under way with our Chinese partners," he said.

The Chinese city of Tianjin was chosen in June as the assembly site. Airbus has had a cooperation programme since 1985 with China embracing jet sales, purchase of parts and training in China.

DPA

Subject: German news

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