Bombardier is redoubling efforts to improve customer service through a series of initiatives designed to address customer complaints. A major customer-support initiative now under way involves opening two “superwarehouses” to augment regular Bombardier warehouses and parts depots.
Rohde & Schwarz–supplier of the VHF/UHF transceivers, based on its M3AR family, for the first batch of Eurofighter Typhoons–will also supply updated versions of the same radio communication equipment for the second batch of 236 aircraft. The German company will modernize radios, which will include a new data modem, together with partners Selenia Communications and Indra Sistemas.
Airbus will launch the A350 airliner in September regardless of whether the transatlantic trade dispute over airliner subsidies has been settled by then. Airbus chief executive and EADS co-CEO Noël Forgeard yesterday admitted that the company did indeed delay the launch of the A350 to allow the subsidy negotiations between the European Union and the U.S. to advance further.
European industry officials hope that relationships with regulators and other agencies will improve following recent consolidation of representative trade lobby groups. The AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD), formally established earlier this year to promote and support the sector’s competitive development, already has identified several major topics for action.
Plastic thermoforming specialist Dedienne Plasturgie, a sibling of Dedienne Aerospace, manufacturer of aircraft maintenance, tooling and ground support equipment, is in the business of replacing conventional aircraft metallic parts with plastic versions, integrating several functions. This translates into fewer, lighter parts.
French regions Aquitaine and Midi-Pyrénées have formed an organization called the “Aerospace Valley” to bid for government-endorsed “competitiveness area” status in the fields of aerospace and on-board systems. The French government is expected to name 10 to 20 such areas in mid-July, giving participants a certain status that will lead to industry recognition and access to new financial backing.
Air systems specialist Liebherr Aerospace Toulouse (Hall 2B Stand I6) is betting on regional jet production growth. The company counts both established and emerging regional jet players among its customers for products ranging from engine bleed air to integrated air management systems. Nevertheless, Airbus remains one of Liebherr’s major customers and the company has taken part in a recent joint equipment support initiative.
The air transport industry in Europe employs about 3.1 million people, and if air traffic doubles in 15 years as expected, the sector will contribute up to 13 percent of Europe’s gross domestic product. A thriving aerospace industry is therefore a key factor in the 25-nation European Union’s “Lisbon Strategy” to become the “most competitive economy in the world.”
As Canadian conglomerate Onex prepared for its historic buy of Boeing’s commercial subassembly plants in the midwestern U.S., 9,300 employees at Boeing sites in Wichita, Kansas, and Tulsa and McAlester, Oklahoma, understandably felt a nagging unease over their futures.
In his swan song as the outgoing chairman of French aerospace industry association GIFAS last month, Philippe Camus called 2004 a “satisfactory year in a difficult environment.” He said prospects for the country’s aerospace and defense firms are brighter for 2005 with greater volumes of new orders flowing in–especially from commercial airliner and business aircraft programs–and exports achieving record levels.