EADS board grapples with Airbus 350 launch

9th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Dec 9 (AFP) - The European Aeronautic Defence Space company (EADS), roiled by internal management friction, will hold a key board meeting Friday to discuss whether to go ahead and build the A350 to compete with Boeing's planned fuel-efficient 7E7.

PARIS, Dec 9 (AFP) - The European Aeronautic Defence Space company (EADS), roiled by internal management friction, will hold a key board meeting Friday to discuss whether to go ahead and build the A350 to compete with Boeing's planned fuel-efficient 7E7.

The EADS group, a French-German-Spanish consortium that controls 80 percent of the European aircraft manufacturer and Boeing rival Airbus Industrie, convened a directors meeting November 29 and later said it would decide on the fate of the A350 by the end of the year.

The A350 debate is taking place as the company looks for consensus on its future leadership structure, with the term of the current board of directors set to expire in July.

Press reports here said Airbus chief exeutive Noel Forgeard would likely replace EADS co-CEO Philippe Camus when his term ends in July.

Forgeard, who turned 58 on Wednesday, would be responsible for the French interests in EADS, a 30.07 percent stake held in equal parts by the state and the French industrial group Lagardere.

A Lagardere spokesman said Wednesday that nominations were unlikely to emerge from the EADS board meeting Friday, given that the session would be dominated by the future of the A350.

Camus, a rival of Forgeard and his superior in the EADS' management structure, has said he would like another term.

Both have voiced support for the A350.

The plane would be an addition to the Airbus A330 family, equipped with new motors and wings and would go head-to-head by the 7E7, which Boeing has dubbed the "Dreamliner."

The A350 is expected to have a greater capacity and operating range than the 7E7 in order to meet potential demand from Asian clients.

John Leahy, the Airbus commercial director who has held talks with Asian carriers, has said he feels confident that several orders could be announced in the coming months.

The aircraft would enter into service in the first half of 2010, with the overall cost of the development program estimated at EUR 3.5 billion (USD 4.6 billion), according to press reports.

Forgeard has said he would seek advances in the form of reimbursable loans from four European countries, Britain, Germany, France and Spain, which would fuel a EU/US row over the legality of government assistance to aircraft makers.

The German newspaper Die Welt has meanwhile said Airbus, for the first time, could turn to China to manufacture at least five percent of the parts used in the construction of the A350.

 

© AFP

Subject: French News

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