Airbus Offers Russia Larger Share Of A350 XWB Production
Airbus has offered a Russian company a larger role in the future
production of its A350 XWB airliner in the face of mounting
Bloomberg reports Alexei Fyodorov, chief executive of Russia's
OAO Unified Aircraft Corporation, met Thursday at Airbus
headquarters in Toulouse, France, with top executives of Airbus and
its parent, EADS.
Airbus executive vice president Olivier Andries said, "We feel
that the Russians are ready to take more responsibility on the
Fyodorov told Bloomberg, "We are interested in this project, but
we have to study it first to know how we can participate."
EADS recently approved the estimated $15.5 billion development
costs for Airbus' A350 XWB, a planned long-range, medium capacity
Those considerable development costs pale in comparison to the
costs the company continues to bear as it struggles to get its
massive A380 superjumbo into production and in customers' hands.
That program is nearly two years behind schedule and continues to
Richard Aboulafia, a Vice president the Teal Group, a
Fairfax, VA-based consulting agency, told Bloomberg, "The Russians
offer nothing unique technologically, but Airbus needs to spread
costs, and because there's Russian government money available, the
Russians can certainly do this."
As ANN reported, Russia's
state-controlled VneshTorgBank (VTB) purchased a 5% stake in
EADS in September, and expressed great interest in purchasing
more. Those overtures were rebuffed by EADS leadership, but these
latest developments might signal a sea change in EADS funding
EADS Co-CEO Louis Gallois said in a news conference last Monday
the company will fund development of the A350 XWB with EADS'
internal financial resources, associating partnerships and, if
necessary, funds raised on the world's capital markets.
Can Russia take advantage of EADS' apparent financial woes to
get its foot further in the ownership door? Keep watching this