Airbus broke ground on its new A320-family final assembly line in Mobile, Ala., on Monday, during a ceremony attended by the company’s top leadership, state and local politicians, diplomats and aerospace industry executives.
BAE surprised stock markets on September 12 with sudden announcement of a planned merger with its fellow European aerospace and defense group EADS, which confirmed a few hours later that the deal is being discussed. Under UK stock market rules, the merger would have to be agreed or abandoned by close-of-business on October 10.
Airbus will delay first flight and entry into service of the A350XWB by another three months to address a manufacturing glitch at its Broughton, UK, wing production facility, EADS executives revealed during today’s half-year earnings briefing. Already a year behind schedule, the A350-900 now won’t reach the market until at least the second half of 2014.
Airbus’s plan to transfer more work on its A320 wings to Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has caused a stir among the members and leadership of Unite, the UK’s biggest union, which described the move as “a massive own goal.”
GKN Aerospace assumed full ownership of the former Airbus wing component and assemblies factory at Filton, UK, on January 5. The UK group acquired the facility from Airbus for £136 million ($199 million).
In the aerospace world, the West is definitely looking east these days. Western manufacturers see Asia and eastern Europe as important emerging markets and as sources of low-cost production capacity. But some parts of the West are trying to persuade other Westerners that they don’t have to look quite so far east for the value and opportunity they crave.
EADS plans to appoint a British board member in the event BAE Systems goes forward with its sale of its 20-percent stake in the European conglomerate, company co-CEOs Louis Gallois and Tom Enders confirmed here during a morning press conference yesterday. Nevertheless, Enders made it clear that he has grown tired of the nationalistic politics that seem so fundamental to any discussion about the composition of EADS and its board.