EADS 'serious offer' to provide UAE with Eurofighters: CEO

15th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

The European Aeronautic Defence Space Company (EADS) is preparing a "serious offer" to supply 60 Eurofighter jets to the United Arab Emirates, boss Louis Gallois told Tuesday's Financial Times.

EADS is the main shareholder in Eurofighter -- the consortium maker of the Typhoon -- which confirmed on Sunday that the Gulf state had put in a "request for proposal" after attending a briefing on the aircraft's capabilities.

Other members of the consortium include BAE Systems of Britain and Finmeccanica of Italy.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Dubai Airshow, EADS chief executive Gallois also apologised to shareholders and customers for a six-month delay in delivery of Airbus's long-haul A350 aircraft.

The executive said it was "never good to be late" but extra time was needed to "stop and fix" the issue and to ensure it brought "mature components to the assembly line".

EADS, Airbus's parent company, vowed that the fuel-efficient twin-jet, which it hopes will compete with Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, will now enter service in the first half of 2014 rather than the end of 2013 as previously announced.

Both the A350 and the 787 are made with modern composite materials such as carbon fibre glass that reduce weight and drag, leading to greater fuel economy.

Boeing's tie-up with Gulf carrier Emirates on Sunday has been the main talking point of Dubai's showpiece aviation event.

The $18 billion-deal to supply 50 777 aircraft represents the US manufacturer's largest ever commercial aircraft order.

Gallois said the agreement proved the aviation industry was "alive" despite economic chaos in Europe.

Kuwaiti aircraft leaser ALAFCO on Monday increased an order with Airbus for its A320 Neo to 50 in a $4.6 billion-deal (3.4 billion euros).

EADS, which makes Airbus passenger jets and European Ariane satellite launchers, was founded in 2000 from a merger of French, German and Spanish aerospace companies.

Gallois said he remained optimistic that a deal could be hammered out with Germany over plans to cut the number of military helicopters it was set to purchase from the company.

"I think we could find an agreement with the German government," he told the business broadsheet.

© 2011 AFP

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