Air Transport World

Northwest A320 order brightens Aerospatiale prospects. (Northwest Orient Airlines)

Northwest A320 order brightens Aerospatiale prospects

Order by Northwest Orient for ten European Airbus A320s, with the possibility of follow-on deals to take the contract as high as 100 airplanes, came as a major shot in the corporate arm for Aerospatiale, the French national aerospace manufacturer.

Aerospatiale is a 37.9% partner in the Airbus consortium, manufacturing the complete forward fuselage section of the A320, from cockpit to wing (and having responsibility for final assembly) in four factories situated in various parts of France--at Nantes, St Nazaire, Meaulte, and Toulouse. Of its total 35,000 employes, 13,500 are in the aircraft division with 11,000 working on civil projects.

Around 80% of the work of the aircraft division is on civil projects, and 80% of that is for Airbus Industrie. An ATR 42 constitutes about 10% of an Airbus in both labor and money content.

Before the Northwest order, Airbus had logged sales of 63 aircraft, 44 of them A320s, in the first half of 1986, compared with 78 sales (31 A320s) in the whole of 1985. Northwest's selection of the A320 brought total sales of the new 150-seater (if the airline takes all 100) to 234, with a further 133 options.

The order also had further important implications for both Airbus and Aerospatiale. Firstly, it gave Airbus a significant additional foothold (following earlier sales to Eastern and Pan Am) in the North American market right under the nose of its great rival Boeing. …

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