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.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Market Risk & Control Manager

Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Head of Audit

To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam