- The Washington Times - Monday, March 13, 2006

NEW YORK (AP) — The European parent of the maker of Airbus aircraft is considering manufacturing some planes in China, but a top executive said yesterday that the company won’t make a final decision until summer.

“Asia is the biggest growth area,” Tom Enders, chief executive officer of European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co., told reporters. He said EADS hopes to make a final decision between July and September.

The planes to be made in China would be commercial aircraft produced by Airbus. EADS owns 80 percent of Airbus, based in Toulouse, France.

Mr. Enders said the company is considering building single-aisle commercial aircraft in China.

These planes typically have 107 to 185 seats and many likely would be used for destinations within China.

He said the company is not sure how many people it would hire in China, and company managers meeting with reporters yesterday were unable to say where production facilities would be based.

EADS managers said the plan being considered would be to build four planes a month in China by some time in 2009.

Mr. Enders also told reporters in New York that the first two of its A380 planes, the world’s largest commercial aircraft, will be delivered later this year to Singapore Airlines. The A380 aircraft competes with Boeing Co.’s 747 model.

Mr. Enders and other senior managers were in New York as part of a series of meetings with the company’s U.S. investors.

EADS, whose products include commercial Airbus planes, military transport aircraft, helicopters and ballistic missiles, is based in Paris and Munich.

Last week, the company said its net income rose 39 percent last year to $2 billion.

Hans Peter Ring, chief financial officer at EADS, said the company expects much of its growth in the next five to 10 years to come from Asia.

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