Airbus Problems Result In Big Losses
It's official: this year will go down as the worst-ever in the
37-year history of European Aeronautic Defence & Space (EADS),
parent company of troubled planemaker Airbus -- and according to
the company's co-CEOs, the worst may still be yet to come.
"It was the worst year for Airbus in its life," co-chief
executive officer Louis Gallois said during the company's annual
news conference in southern Germany this week.
"We had big problems, as everyone knows," co-CEO Tom Enders
added, according to The Associated Press. "This company needs more
innovation, more focused innovation."
Both men placed blame for EADS' current financial woes squarely
on Airbus, which has endured massive losses stemming from a
22-month delay in deliveries of its A380 superjumbo. The planemaker
also misfired on its original design of the A350 midsized airliner,
competitor to the Boeing 787; after a costly redesign, that plane
won't reach the market until at least four years after the 787
starts customer flights.
Airbus' woes contributed to a staggering $1 billion loss
from October-December of 2006; in the last quarter, EADS posted an
operating loss of $2.26 billion. Those are the kinds of numbers not
even anticipated record deliveries of airliners can surmount.
"We will deliver between
440 and 450 airplanes, but Airbus will display another substantial
loss in 2007 because of the charges for the Power8 program (and)
further costs to support the A380," Gallois said.
As Aero-News reported, Power8
has drawn strong opposition from labor groups in Germany and
France, protesting planned job cuts of 10,000 workers and the sale
or partnering of six plants. Gallois said those losses, painful as
they are, are absolutely necessary for the planemaker to regain its
"We have to build a new Airbus. A network of strong partners
sharing expenses and risk with it," Gallois said. "It's our
priority in 2007 to implement Power8."