Strike will not hit A380 delivery to Emirates: Airbus

DUBAI — As thousands of workers at Airbus plants in France, Germany and Spain staged strikes and protests yesterday against massive job cuts, the embattled aircraft maker said the unrest would not cause any further production and delivery delays for its snag-hit Superjumbo A380 programme.

By Issac John (Chief Business Reporter)

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Published: Sat 17 Mar 2007, 8:52 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 10:52 PM

Speaking to Khaleej Times from Sydney, Justin Dubon, an Airbus spokesman, sought to assure that Airbus A380 aircraft delivery to Emirates, the largest customer of the superjumbo, would not be hit by the snowballing protests against a restructuring plan the troubled aircraft maker said would slash 10,000 jobs across Europe.

Emirates, the UAE national carrier, has 45 of the A380s on order and will take delivery of the first plane next year, 21 months behind schedule, because of manufacturing delays at Airbus.

Dubon said he hoped the unions would understand that it is important not to disrupt the production and delivery schedules. Quoting Louis Gallois, who is Airbus President and CEO, Dubon said "we expect the unions will realise the gravity of the situation and would agree that their protest would not cause further production snags. So we are not foreseeing any further delays in our delivery schedule to Emirates and other customers."

The new wave of strikes came in the wake of an announcement by Russian state flag carrier Aeroflot that it will acquire 22 Airbus A350 widebody jets. Qatar Airways also confirmed on Thursday it is in talks with Airbus on a purchase of 80 A350s.

Thousands joined yesterday's protests at Airbus facilities around the continent followed a similar movement last week by at least 12,000 workers. The protests are another blow to a company reeling from management and financial crises that have caused parent company EADS to cut its profit forecast by more than $6.6 billion.

In Spain 9,000 workers at Airbus' three factories and other sites owned by its parent company European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co., or EADS walked off the job for an hour. In Toulouse in southern France, thousands of striking workers from various French Airbus sites protested in front of the company's headquarters.

The Airbus restructuring plan Power8 provides for strong cost-cutting measures and aims at transforming the Airbus business model and the development of a global network of partners. It will allow Airbus to devote its resources to core activities and eliminate inefficiencies within its current structure.

"We have had an excellent sales and delivery performance in 2006. But our long-term future is at stake if we don't act now," Gallois said. "We fully appreciate that this transformation must be undertaken jointly and in close consultation with our social partners."

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