Electronics Production | June 21, 2007
AVIC wants to buy Airbus plants in Europe
China Aviation Industry Corp is planning to take over Airbus six plants in Europe.
Airbus is right now in the process of making a decision for the future of its European manufacturing and during that process AVIC has placed a bid for Airbus six manufacturing plants in Europe. Airbus is right now looking at cutting costs for the company and in the cost-cutting program Airbus is planning to sell off six manufacturing plants. Airbus has a great order book right now with a value of up to 47 billion dollars for 339 ordered aeroplanes but the situation in Europe is according to the company's management pretty worrying. The toughest competitor, the American Boeing, has been granted $800 million from its government for further development so Airbus is now looking to request for money here in Europe. If the company is granted the money from the European finance ministers in Spain, Germany and UK the company may remain with its manufacturing in Europe. One problem for Airbus is however the weak dollar. Every ten percent of strengthened Euro against the dollar makes the company lose one billion euro, according to the company's CEO Louis Gallois. The Chinese subcontractor, which has been working together with Airbus for quite a long time, has now put in a bid for six of Airbus' plants. The three first plants to be taken over are Filton in Britain, Meaulte in France and Nordenham in Germany. The other three sites are Laupheim and Varel in Germany and Saint-Nazaire in France. “Airbus is expected to select the first group of risk-sharing partners in summer", Airbus COO Fabrice Bregier said. Although Airbus has subcontracted manufacturing work to China for more than 20 years, AVIC I is still just a component supplier. “Another problem is whether AVIC I can meet the stringent requirements of Airbus. AVIC I still needs to improve in terms of labor efficiency, optimization of tools, and supply chain management. Airbus is looking for capable partners who can share its development and production risks, not someone creating new risks", said Li Lei, an aviation analyst with CITIC China Securities. Airbus' Filton plant produces wing parts, with Meaulte assembling the nose sections, including the cockpit, and Nordenham making fuselage shells. Laupheim specializes in cabin interiors and Varel produces complex machined structural components and tooling. Saint-Nazaire assembles, equips and tests the front and central sections of Airbus aircraft.
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