Air Transport World

Airbus intensifies A330-A340 efforts.

Airbus intensifies A330/A340 efforts

Airbus Industrie, the four-nation (France, West Germany, Britain, Spain) aerospace consortium, intends to go ahead with its newest project, the joint A330 medium-range/A340 long-range airliners in the first quarter of 1987, always supposing that five airline customers have signed up, and the four partner governments have committed the necessary launch-aid.

According to Heribert Flosdorff, Airbus executive VP and general manager, the main interest among potential customers at this writing centers on the A340. Airbus prefers to have at least one A330 customer before go-ahead, but believes that in the long-term, A330 sales will outstrip those for the A340. Asked by ATW for the current situation on funding the program, total cost of which is estimated at $3 billion, Flosdorff said that only the British partner had so far made a firm proposal to its government. This was by British Aerospace, wing-makers to Airbus, for the equivalent of just over $1 billion.

First quarter decision

Geoffrey Pattie, Information Technology Minister in Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's government, said in the House of Commons in London that BAe will have to wait until the first quarter of 1987 to know the outcome of its application. "We have to take account of what the market opportunities for one of the aircraft in particular are likely to be,' Pattie stated.

Deutsche Airbus, the West German partner in the consortium, recently said that the country's taxpayers have put the equivalent of $2.1 billion into the Airbus programs (A300, A310, A320) so far. This was in response to claims by the Free Democratic Party, the junior partner in the Bonn coalition, that the figure was two and a half times that amount. Reports from Bonn indicate that the West German government hopes to bring the private sector into the financing of Airbus programs, and that major German companies including Daimler Benz, Siemens, BMW and Bosch have been approached.

France and West Germany (each with 37.9% of the partnership) should have little difficulty in convincing their governments that they should provide launch aid, repayable through a levy on sales, for the A330/340 program. …

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