Sun, Oct 09, 2005
Move Contradicts Earlier Remarks Of No Government Launch
Less than 48 hours after asserting there were no plans (at the
time) to accept subsidies for its new A350 airliner, Airbus
representatives announced Friday the European consortium had
received "legally binding" government funding for the launch of its
new Boeing 787 competitor.
US diplomats in Geneva made no public response to Airbus CEO
Gustav Humbert's announcement the company has received commitments
for funding on the A350 from all four governments with a stake in
Airbus -- France, Germany, Britain, and Spain, according to the
The Airbus announcement seemed to
contradict an earlier statement, reported in Aero-News, by Airbus
parent company EADS that there were no current plans to accept
government launch subsidies for the A350 program.
EADS called its
decision Thursday, announced at the same time the A350 (file photo,
right) was approved for production by EADS board members, "a
new window of opportunity" into diffusing the tense legal battle,
currently being played before the World Trade Organization, between
the European Union and US over government subsidies of its
respective countries' aircraft programs.
The Thursday announcement was met largely by silence
from US representatives, an indication perhaps to
Airbus it wasn't worth foregoing the government aid in order
to win negligible points with the WTO.
French Transport Ministry spokesman Arnaud LeBlanc said his
office had signed an agreement to grant launch aid to Airbus for
the A350, "without specifying the timing or the amount." He added
this plan leaves room for negotiation with the US.
The A350 is a medium-size long-range airliner designed to rival
Boeing's similar 787 Dreamliner. Airbus plans to launch the A350 by
2010, two years after Boeing begins customer deliveries of the
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