Aerospatiale shift boosts hopes for reforms at Airbus

Plans for restructuring Airbus Industrie have taken a large step forward following public backing for the move by Aerospatiale of France, one of the four partners in the aircraft consortium. The shift in stance by the French group comes as Edzard Reuter, chairman of Airbus and former chairman of Daimler Benz, prepares to report to the board on the future shape of the European partnership.

British Aerospace, which has 20 per cent of Airbus, has been battling to turn the plane-building organisation into a separately incorporated group instead of a partnership. The German government has come out in favour of reorganisation but the French have until recently opposed the change.

In a surprise move, Louis Gallois, chairman of Aerospatiale, has called for an end to the system under which work on the aircraft is parcelled out to the consortium partners according to their shareholdings.

Mr Gallois accepted that the move, which could go hand in hand with the transformation of Airbus into a public limited company, may mean Aerospatiale losing out to rivals in competitive tendering. In an interview earlier this week, he said that airlines need reassurance about the future of the Airbus grouping and that this "is linked to the transformation of its status into a fully fledged company".

Mr Gallois stressed the need to react quickly to customers' demands but added that he does not think that the group can be transformed overnight.

Pressure to reform the structure of Airbus has been mounting in recent weeks following threats from the German government to withhold subsidies for the development of the partnership's next aircraft unless it begins a reorganisation.

Under the present arrangements, work is shared by members of Airbus - which in addition to BAe and Aerospatiale include Daimler Benz Aerospace and Casa of Spain - according to their participation. This has been criticised by the UK and Germany as inefficient but until now France has resisted change.

Britain and Germany have said they want Airbus turned into a conventional company with managerial freedom to make decisions about cost cuts without constantly referring back to the partners. The restructuring of Airbus could also allow the expansion of the partnership to help fund the next generation of super-jumbo aircraft.

BAe sources have dismissed press speculation that it would want an increase in its stake if Airbus is restructured.

The Airbus plans to build the 550-seater A3XX, could cost more than pounds 5bn and the existing partners are unlikely to be able to raise the capital. There is speculation that Airbus could embrace new partners from Asia and the Pacific Rim, where growth of airline orders is expected to be strongest over the next 20 years.

A recent survey of the airline market by Boeing estimated investment of $1,100bn on about 16,000 aircraft over the next 20 years with the bulk of the demand coming from Asia-Pacific. If Airbus becomes a separately incorporated company it will have more freedom to buy components from the most economic sources.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Pricing Analyst

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst to join a leading e-...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is a mul...

Guru Careers: C# Project Team Lead

£55 - 65k (DOE): Guru Careers: A unique opportunity for a permanent C# Develop...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor