EADS backs Airbus to take on Boeing 7E7

23rd November 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Nov 23 (AFP) - The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company signalled Tuesday it was likely to give backing to a programme to build an airplane to compete with Boeing's superefficient airplane 7E7 and plans to enter the bidding for an air-to-air tanker in the United States.

PARIS, Nov 23 (AFP) - The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company signalled Tuesday it was likely to give backing to a programme to build an airplane to compete with Boeing's superefficient airplane 7E7 and plans to enter the bidding for an air-to-air tanker in the United States.

Spokesman Rainer Ohler said that EADS already had little doubt that it would give its backing to Airbus for development of the A350, which would compete with Boeing's super efficient 7E7 which is currently in development.

Asked to comment on reports that EADS was ready to give the go ahead to the A350, spokesman Rainer Ohler said the necessary decisions would be made by the end of the year. "Its not anything new ... (co-chief executive Rainer) Hertrich expressed no doubt that a positive decision will be taken," Ohler said.

He declined to give definite confirmation that Airbus would be given the go-ahead for the project because the decision was "down to the board" to make.

Asked whether there was any reason that the board would reject such a proposal from Airbus' management, he said: "The responsibility towards the shareholders lies with EADS."

EADS has an 80-percent stake in Airbus, and the rest of aircraft maker's capital is owned by British defence contractor BAE Systems.

Airbus chief commercial officer John Leahy said at Airbus' headquarters in Toulouse southern France that he hoped the company would make a decision on the programme by the end of the year.

Ohler also said the company would be entering the bidding for the reopened air-to-air tanker contract in the US after US Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz announced late Monday that the contract would be opened to competitive bidding.

"We've always said that if the contract was reopened, then we would compete," Ohler said.

The Pentagon is reopening the bidding after it suspended the previous contract with Boeing to supply 100 tanker planes to the Air Force in the wake of a corruption investigation into the deal.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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