How Europe's Airbus came down to earth

28th February 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 28, 2007 (AFP) - European jet maker Airbus announced on Wednesday it was to axe 10,000 of its 56,000 workforce as part of a cost-cutting operation to lift it out of a financial crisis. Here is an account of how the company, which for a while outpeformed its bitter US rival, Boeing, came back down to earth.

PARIS, Feb 28, 2007 (AFP) - European jet maker Airbus announced on Wednesday it was to axe 10,000 of its 56,000 workforce as part of a cost-cutting operation to lift it out of a financial crisis. Here is an account of how the company, which for a while outpeformed its bitter US rival, Boeing, came back down to earth.

2005

May - Just over a year after its maiden flight amid much hoopla, Airbus announces that its flagship A380 super jumbo would not be delivered on time. The news was the first sign that the ambitious project to make the world's largest airliner, and that of Airbus, was in trouble. The company told Singapore Airlines, one of the first to order the giant planes, that it would deliver the plane six months later than promised. One month later, Airbus says that all A380 deliveries will be delayed.

2006

June - Airbus makes a second announcement delaying deliveries of the A380 of between six and seven months, at a cost to parent company EADS of two billion euros. The next day, the price of shares in EADS collapse by over 26 percent, prompting an investigation by the French stockmarket regulator. EADS co-president Noel Forgeard, who sold a large tranche of shares in March, is suspected of insider trading.

July - Forgeard resigns as does Airbus chief Gustav Humbert who is replaced by two co-presidents, Louis Gallois and Christian Streiff.

Sept - Airbus makes another announcement of delays to the delivery of the A380.

Oct - Streiff unveils a drastic overhaul of the company to save five billion euros by 2010 and two billion euros thereafter by slashing jobs and reorganising its european operations. The airplane maker employs 56,000 people, with 22,000 in France, 21,000 in Germany, 10,000 in Britain and 3,000 in Spain. Six days later Streiff resigns citing lack of autonomy. Gallois replaces him as boss of Airbus and remains as co-president of EADS. EADS and Airbus subsequently signal that they will need state financial help for the new A350 airliner, and might also raise money from financial markets.

2007

Jan 17 Boeing overtakes Airbus for the first time since 2000 in terms of new orders. EADS warns that Airbus will make a loss in 2006.

Feb 19 Airbus delays unveiling of its restructuring plan following arguments between its main French and German shareholders. Airbus is owned by EADS, which is controlled by French shareholders media group Lagardere and the French state, and German shareholder car maker DaimlerChrysler.

Feb 23 - President Jacques Chirac of France and Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel say they want to see an equal share in their efforts.

Feb 26 - EADS gives unanimous approval to the "Power8" restructuring plan.

Feb 28 - Airbus announces 10,000 job cuts over four years and a severe streamlining of its production network, saying this will achieve its financial targets.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, Airbus

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