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Gallois Wants Aerospace Consortium To Become 'An American Citizen'

Baseball, Apple Pie... And EADS North America?

Whoa boy. French labor unions -- already nervous from efforts on the part of EADS and Airbus to relocate jobs overseas -- aren't going to be happy with this one.

EADS CEO Louis Gallois has been watching his company's profits get pounded by the growing disparity in value between the euro and the US dollar. He told the Associated Press Tuesday he wants to transform EADS North America and make it "an American citizen."

Gallois says he wants EADS to meet US security requirements -- and acquire and partner in sites in the United States, or in other dollar-based countries, or otherwise transfer the company's activities outside the euro zone.

One big step already taken has been EADS's partnership with Northrop Grumman on the KC-45A, a new aerial refueling tanker which earlier beat a Boeing design to win a US Air Force contract for 179 planes, worth $35 billion. Boeing's protest of that award is expected to bring a ruling from the US Government Accountability Office by June, though several analysts say the deal will probably survive.

Gallois says Airbus has already sold 400 new jets in the first quarter, toward its goal of 700 for the year. Coming off a huge 2007 for both Airbus and Boeing, Gallois noted air traffic growth in Europe and the US and Europe is slowing, but remains strong in Asia and the Middle East.

FMI: www.eads.com

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