Airbus: How governments build airplanes

Only a government owned operation would build a product with these types of considerations. The problem is, as the article points out, that the losses that Airbus is suffering may mean that it has neither jobs nor product in the end.

The contribution of the United Kingdom taxpayer alone towards the A380 programme is £530 million. In return for that, Broughton in North Wales and Filton near Bristol get to make the wings. But it also means that each completed set of wings has to make a remarkable journey to the final assembly site in France by way of container ship, river barge and specially adapted road trailer. With the main fuselage having to travel from Germany and the tailfin from Spain, no wonder Christian Streiff, the man who was drafted in to head Airbus in July, commented that there must be a simpler way.

Streiff will be hoping President Chirac wasn't right at the launch of the A380 when he said: "This veritable ocean liner of the sky will go down in history like the Concorde." . . .

This shows how hard it is to fix the problems:

If France has the upper hand in the EADS boardroom, Germany fears it could be forced to bear the brunt of any cut-backs.

The Toulouse-based Airbus believes it must fund the development of its proposed A350 extra wide body (XWB) passenger aircraft to help meet the challenge from a resurgent Boeing.

The British government is expected to be asked to provide some launch aid for the A350 because of Airbus's extensive UK interests. The company employs 12,000 people in the UK, mostly making aircraft wings. However, any launch aid is likely be linked to promises that Airbus does not cut back its UK manufacturing sites. . . .


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