Filed under: Airbus, Boeing, Business Line, Companies, Congress, Contract Awards, Countries, Department of Defense, development program, EADS, Events, Federal Budget Process, KC-X, L-3, Lockheed Martin, logistics, Malaysia, Military Aviation, Proposal, Restructuring, Services, South Africa, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army
The European defense conglomerate EADS (EADS:P) has been working for several years to develop the A400M “Grizzly” transport aircraft. This advanced turboprop transport falls in between the two Western standard aerial transports Lockheed Martin’s (LMT) C-130J and Boeing’s (BA) C-17 in terms of size and capacity. EADS is also advertising its ability to fly from short, unimproved airfields when compared to the two U.S. Air Force basic aircraft. In this way the A400M is more like traditional Soviet transports where this capability was emphasized over other characteristics. EADS would like to sell the A400M to the U.S. military as well as other foriegn customers to help with the total cost of the program and perhaps even make a profit.
The problem they face is that the United States has invested over the last twenty years in a fleet of C-17 and C-130 to augment their heavy lift C-5 which is about to be upgraded. There is little requirement for a new transport even if it is offers advantages over the current aircraft. In fact the U.S. believes it has too many C-17 due to Congress’ adding buys over the Air Force’s acquisition objective for the last several years. It looks like the 2011 budget will not contain any more C-17 aircraft when it is finally completed. This means that EADS is looking for an uphill climb to sell the aircraft in the U.S. just from a requirement stand point.
The A400M has had a troubled development history ending up being two years late and much more expensive then planned. EADS has renegotiated the contract it had with its European customers to try and adjust for these issues. The problem they face is that to try and make the money up they will need to sell much more then originally planned. This means they must look for overseas customers in a crowded market. Only two countries had planned to place Foreign Military Sales (FMS) orders for the aircraft: Malaysia and South Africa. South Africa canceled theirs due to the cost increases. While the domestic customers state commitment to the program they also could readjust their quantities putting even more cost pressure on the aircraft program.
Unfortunately the delays in the A400M means it missed some potential orders that it might have been able to bid on if the original schedule had been met. The demands of fighting in Afghanistan have increased the need for tactical transports like the A400M but the C-130J has been able to win a great deal of contracts that the A400M might have. Lockheed has a hot production line in steady state that provides availability and cost stability. The A400M was several years in the future with some unknowns when it came to cost.
Another problem that EADS must face is the U.S. political opposition to buying non-domestic aircraft. While they are bidding on the KC-X against Boeing there is a lot of criticism of the Air Force for even allowing their bid. Partly this is due to concerns about “U.S. jobs” and just the normal chauvinism present in any large arms deal. Due to declining industrial base issues the U.S. has to consider an EADS bid if they want any competition on the KC-X. The transport market is a little more diverse and EADS could face competition from more then one U.S. manufacturer making it hard to make the KC-X argument for any new airlift mission.
Another cautionary tale for the A400M is the U.S Army’s planned Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA) program. The Army originally wanted to purchase an aircraft smaller then a C-130 to provide lift in Iraq and Afghanistan between bases. As the name implies it became a shared program with the Air Force partly because they buy fixed wing aircraft and the Army has a very limited fleet of tactical transports and ISR assets. The program ended up purchasing the C-27 Spartan an Italian made aircraft through a contract with L-3 Communications (LLL). In the 2010 budget reforms the program was transferred to Air Force management and the plans to buy aircraft significantly scaled back. The JCA faced issues as it didn’t fit with the Air Force plans even if the Army wanted it. The A400M will face the same issues.
Once the A400M enters service it may prove to be a very capable, effective aircraft. Unfortunately to break into the U.S. market it may be too late as the defense budget declines and the C-5, C-17 and C-130 fleet soldiers on.
Photo from Ronnie Macdonald’s Flickr photostream.
Filed under: Airbus, Boeing, Business Line, Companies, Congress, Countries, Department of Defense, development program, EADS, Events, Federal Budget Process, France, Germany, logistics, McDonnell Douglas, Military Aviation, production program, Proposal, Protest, Services, U.S. Air Force
Yesterday the formal report by the World Trade Organization (WTO) on their investigation of complaints by the U.S. Government and Boeing (BA) that EADS (EADS:P) and its subsidiary, Airbus, received illegal subsidies was released. The WTO did not support all aspects of the complaint but did say that launch aid provided by European governments to the airliner company was wrong. This launch aid was normally in the provision of low interest loans that were only paid back once the sale of the aircraft became profitable. The aid was considered illegal export subsidies.
U.S. politicians supportive of Boeing’s bid for the new KC-X aerial tanker for the Air Force seized on the report to aid their quest to have EADS bid either rejected or adjusted to reflect the addition of the illegal subsidies. The Pentagon has clearly stated several times in the past that as part of their source selection process they cannot and will not take into account the loans and other aid.
Congress recently passed legislation in the House that is an attempt to force the Defense Department to do that. The Senate needs to also vote on it and it will then move to a discussion of whether the DoD will follow that requirement.
The WTO said that without this aid the company would not have been in as good financial shape as it has been and could not afforded to develop some products — including the superjumbo airliner A380. The WTO may force the company to pay back some of the money, or allow the U.S. to impose tariffs on European goods.
The WTO did rule though that other aid the company received such as tax breaks or infrastructure support rose to the level of illegal subsidies. EADS and the European governments will appeal the case back to the WTO and are waiting to hear about their counter complaint. In this they are claiming that the money Boeing received from the U.S. military for Research & Development (R&D) amounts to illegal subsidies as well as it helped develop their commercial aircraft. That ruling may be announced before the end of the month.
The KC-X program is now on its third attempt to buy a new tanker to replace the aging KC-135 aircraft. The WTO ruling will make it easier for Boeing’s supporters to claim EADS is undercutting prices and causing the source selection process to be even more difficult. It also allows for a protest by either company if they lose and will motivate Congress to interfere even more.
The situation has been caused by the lack of aircraft manufacturers in the world. Really only Boeing and EADS may bid on the contract. With the demise of McDonnell Douglas in the Nineties there exists only one U.S. source. Awarding a sole source contract to Boeing will be difficult and the Air Force wants at least a modicum of competition.
Further delays seem inevitable.
Photo from Monica’s Dad’s flickr photostream.
June 30, 2010
- Launch aid for every Airbus program deemed illegal and damaging
- 'Prohibited' A380 launch aid must be withdrawn 'without delay'
- Legal principle set: airplane programs must be funded on commercial terms
- Government funding of Airbus infrastructure and R&D programs also ruled illegal
- More information, including excerpts from the decision, will be available later today
CHICAGO, - Boeing (NYSE: BA) today praised the World Trade Organization's final ruling that billions of dollars in European launch aid subsidies used by Airbus to develop its commercial airplanes are illegal and must end. The decision, which the WTO made public earlier today, also declares that a broad array of government funding for Airbus research and infrastructure development violated international trade agreements.
"This is a landmark decision and sweeping legal victory over the launch aid subsidies that fueled the rise of Airbus and that continue to provide its products a major cost advantage," said Boeing Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Jim McNerney. "The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative deserves tremendous credit for today's decision. We now join the U.S. government in urging full compliance with the ruling and a permanent restoration of fair competition within our industry," McNerney said.
Boeing Executive Vice President and General Counsel J. Michael Luttig explained the details and implications of the ruling. "Each and every instance of launch aid that the U.S. challenged was held to be illegal," said Luttig. "The panel said that without the illegal subsidies it received, Airbus would not have the aerospace market share it now enjoys. This ruling will alter the competitive landscape in the aerospace industry forever, forcing Airbus to compete in the marketplace on the same terms as Boeing."
Luttig noted that European-provided launch aid for the A380 was found to include prohibited export-contingent subsidies, which WTO rules require be withdrawn "without delay."
"Under today's decision, Airbus must repay the $4 billion in illegal launch aid it received for the A380 or restructure the A380's financing to proven commercial terms. Likewise, Airbus must abandon its plans to finance the A350 through the use of illegal subsidies," he said.
Luttig added that "the WTO rejected all excuses for continuing launch aid, the most pernicious form of subsidy Airbus receives, as well as all other forms of subsidies Airbus and parent EADS use for unfair advantage in the commercial airplane market and in defense markets for military-derivative aircraft. Airbus must now compete on its own, without the assistance of European taxpayers – assistance the U.S. estimates has exceeded $200 billion in value to Airbus."
Airbus has used government-provided launch aid to fund the development of all its commercial airplanes since the entity was formed in 1970. It now commands more than half the commercial airplane market. Launch aid typically comes in the form of no- or low-interest loans with repayment terms so generous that no repayment need occur during the several years it takes to develop a commercial airplane, and not at all in the event a program fails. Launch aid is a unique benefit to Airbus, as the U.S. government does not fund development of commercial products.
"The World Trade Organization has now unequivocally declared that government subsidies to Airbus violate WTO rules, are market-distorting, and have caused significant harm to America's aerospace industry and its workers," Luttig said. "Compliance with the WTO's ruling is essential to establishing a fair and level playing field between Boeing and Airbus. It also is essential to preserving the integrity of the WTO process and, by extension, the integrity of the rules-based trading system that has been a key driver of global economic growth."
Luttig said the WTO's ruling not only makes clear that there can be no new government-subsidized financing for Airbus' future A350 model, but also clarifies rules for other new market participants. "The ruling establishes an overarching principle governing all those entering aerospace markets: Anyone that wants to use government funding arrangements to develop new, competing products must demonstrate that monies are provided on proven commercial terms," he said.
The WTO is an independent, unbiased arbiter of global trade disputes. Today's ruling results from the U.S. government's 2004 decision to file a case with the WTO to end European subsidies to Airbus. While the WTO process allows the European Communities to appeal the ruling, Boeing expects the appeals process to conclude before the end of 2010.
"A successful conclusion to this longstanding dispute is now in sight. Within a year, the U.S. government will have authority to act decisively to ensure compliance if Airbus has not entirely restructured the A380 program so that it is financed and funded on objectively verifiable commercial terms," Luttig said.
"America thrives on competition," said McNerney. "American workers have shown repeatedly they can compete successfully in the global market. But they understandably insist that competition occur on a level playing field, with competitors playing by the agreed-upon rules."
The trade case against launch aid subsidies has enjoyed strong bi-partisan support from the U.S. Congress and multiple presidential administrations.
Filed under: Airbus, Boeing, Congress, EADS, KC-X, KC-X Tanker News, Syndicated Industry News
The World Trade Organization (WTO) which is expected to announce formally its ruling against EADS (EADS:P) for receiving illegal subsidies to support Airbus airliners and is also considering a complaint against the U.S. and Boeing (BA) announced that it does not intervene in military contracts and cannot be involved in the KC-X dispute between the U.S. and Europe.
The chance of France or the E.U. filing a complaint over the terms of the proposal which are seen as limiting EADS chances to bid seems remote. Certainly President Sarkozy of France has raised the issue with President Obama. The Air Force has extended the deadline for proposal submission sixty days to allow EADS to submit a proposal if they want.
March 23, 2010
CHICAGO, -- Boeing issued the following statement following news reports quoting officials who indicated that the United States has prevailed on all of the major issues in the WTO's final decision, which reaffirms its earlier interim decision, in the U.S. case against European subsidies to Airbus.
"This is a powerful, landmark judgment and good news for aerospace workers across America who for decades have had to compete against a heavily subsidized Airbus. U.S. officials have estimated the commercial value to Airbus of all the government launch aid subsidies it has received at more than $178 billion (in 2006 dollars). Government subsidies have been used to support the creation of every Airbus product, including the A330/A340, which received more than $5 billion in development aid, and the A380, which received $4 billion in subsidies. Those and other European government subsidies to Airbus have significantly distorted the global market for large commercial airplanes, causing adverse effect to Boeing and costing America tens of thousands of high-tech jobs.
"We appreciate the strong bipartisan efforts by both the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government to right this wrong and ensure that America's aerospace workers get a fair shake. Because of the U.S. government's undiminished resolve to end illegal subsidies, this decision should level the competitive playing field once and for all with Airbus, as well as set an important precedent for other nations with aspirations to enter the commercial airplane business.
"Airbus and its sponsor governments continue to re-affirm their commitment to using subsidized launch aid to fund the next Airbus airplane, the A350. We urge them to change course and fully comply with the WTO's clear ruling. The WTO panel has painstakingly and professionally reviewed all of the evidence that's been presented the past four years. It is extremely important to international trade and global economic growth that governments and businesses abide by the WTO's rules. Markets, not parliaments, should pick the winners in the global aerospace industry."
March 22, 2010
CHICAGO, -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) today issued the following statement from Ted Austell, vice president, Executive, Legislative and Regulatory Affairs, regarding the anticipated final WTO decision in the U.S. case against European government subsidies to Airbus.
"We look forward to the WTO's final decision, which reportedly will be transmitted to the parties tomorrow, March 23. After years of charges and counter-charges, an independent panel that has worked tirelessly to understand all of the facts in this dispute will render its final judgment. It is an important decision that not only affects the hundreds of thousands of U.S. aerospace workers who've had to compete with an illegally subsidized Airbus, but one that will set an important precedent for the broader, global aerospace industry.
"On the eve of such an important decision, it is unfortunate and disappointing to see news reports quoting a senior German official saying that Germany is prepared to provide 1.1 billion Euros for the development of the Airbus A350 – a move that flies in the face of both the expected WTO decision and the rules-based global trading system we've all endorsed. It also is curious, although not unexpected, to see reports of Airbus calling for a negotiated settlement only 24 hours before a WTO ruling that both parties expect to uphold all of the major U.S. claims. As U.S. officials have repeatedly made clear, there's a place for negotiations, but not on programs and actions declared inconsistent with WTO obligations. Illegal European subsidies have done great harm to the U.S. aerospace industry. It's time to level the playing field and let companies compete on product, price, innovation, and customer support without market-distorting government subsidies."
Filed under: Airbus, Alabama, Boeing, Congress, EADS, KC-X, KC-X Tanker News, Northrop Grumman Corp., Syndicated Industry News, Washington
The Herald a newspaper in Everett, WA has an article discussing how happy and confident Boeing’s legislator supporters are with the new RFP released yesterday by the Air Force. This is the opposite as to how those from Alabama feel. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) is quoted as saying, “Given a fair shot, Washington state’s workers will bring home this contract,” Murray said. “We have the skills, the technology, and the experience of having built the only combat-ready tanker to prove it.”
If Northrop Grumman (NOC) and its partner Airbus don’t submit a bid it will be hard for Boeing (BA) to not win the contract. Hence the happiness of their supporters.
Filed under: Airbus, Boeing, EADS, KC-X, KC-X Tanker News, Syndicated Industry News
Jason Lean, the Executive Director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) has sent a letter to the Tallahasee Democrat opposing the award of the KC-X contract to Airbus on the grounds that “taxpayers shouldn’t pay for foreign jobs.” The letter reads:
“Nearly all Americans know how dire the unemployment picture is today. Unfortunately, the recent job loss numbers show that even harder times are on the horizon (“Jobless rate inches higher statewide but drops slightly in Leon County,” news article, Jan. 23).
But what most Americans don’t know is that the Department of Defense is considering awarding to the Europeans a major defense contract that outsources an additional 50,000 jobs abroad.
Even worse, the European defense contractor in question — EADS/Airbus — is a pariah company that was just found by the World Trade Organization to have thieved tens of thousands of American jobs in an illegal subsidy scheme that allowed it to steal market share from the U.S. aerospace company, Boeing.
There may be controversy about whether we need another federal stimulus plan to create American jobs. But there should be no controversy over the view that American taxpayers should not fund a European jobs stimulus plan for an outlaw company.”
You can read the letter at Tallahasee Democrate.
Filed under: Airbus, EADS, Editorial, KC-X, KC-X Tanker News, Military Aviation
11 December 2009
This morning Airbus Military’s all-new A400M took off for its maiden flight from Seville Airport in Spain. The first entirely new airlifter of the 21st Century took to the air from runway 09 at 10:15 local time (09:15 UTC).
At the controls was Chief Test Pilot Military, Edward “Ed” Strongman, 60, with Experimental Test Pilot Ignacio “Nacho” Lombo, 43, in the right-hand seat. Four engineers are also on the aircraft: Senior Flight Test Engineer Jean-Philippe Cottet, 43, who has responsibility for the powerplants; Senior Flight Test Engineer Eric Isorce, 52, with responsibility for systems and performance; Senior Flight Test Engineer Didier Ronceray, 54, with responsibility for the handling qualities of the aircraft; and Test Flight Engineer Gerard Leskerpit, 50.
Between them the multi-national crew has logged more than 31,000 total flight hours.
The aircraft, with a take-off weight of 127 tonnes, is equipped with 15 tonnes of flight-test equipment including two tonnes of water ballast and its performance is being monitored in realtime by teams of engineers in Seville and Toulouse using state-of-the-art air-ground telemetry. The crew will explore the aircraft’s handling characteristics in the various flap configurations, check the powerplant operation and make initial evaluations of the aircraft’s systems.
Its four all-new Europrop International (EPI) TP400D turboprop powerplants producing 11,000shp (8,200kW) each are the most powerful propeller engines ever fitted to a Western aircraft.
The duration of the flight will be at the test team’s discretion and will end with a landing back at Seville in front of more than 2,000 media, VIPs and Airbus Military staff.
Over the last four weeks the aircraft has been extensively tested on the ground in an increasingly challenging programme leading up to the first flight.
The engines have been run at full power, the electrical systems and on-board data network exhaustively tested, and numerous taxying runs at progressively higher speeds have been performed culminating in a rejected take-off test at a speed of 123kt (227km/hr) on 8th December.
Today’s first flight marks the beginning of a test campaign that will see some 3,700 hours of flying by an eventual five aircraft conducted between now and entry-into-service at the end of 2012. The A400M will receive both civil certification by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and military certification and qualification.
Airbus and Airbus Military have drawn on their decades of technical experience in building civil airliners to produce the world’s most modern airlifter capable of both strategic and tactical operations. Despite being a true tactical aircraft that can land on soft, rough and short runways to deliver equipment and troops close to where they are urgently needed, it cruises at the same altitudes as jets and at comparable speeds.
It was designed from the outset as an aerial refueller and can offload fuel to both fighters and helicopters at their preferred speeds and heights.
The A400M features the same proven fly-by-wire controls technology as Airbus’ highly successful airliner family and an advanced cockpit that has evolved from that of the A380. Carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) wings and other large structures bring weight and strength advantages and cut the risk of corrosion.
A total of 184 aircraft have so far been ordered by Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom,
Airbus Military is the only military and civil transport aircraft manufacturer to develop, produce, sell and support a comprehensive family of airlifters ranging from three to 37 tonnes of payload. Within Airbus, Airbus Military is responsible for the A400M programme, as well as for military tanker transport derivatives based on Airbus civil aircraft, with the integration of the state-of-the-art flight-refuelling boom (ARBS) which is unique in its class. With the C-295, CN-235 and C-212, Airbus Military is the global leader in the market segments for light and medium-sized military transport aircraft. Altogether Airbus Military has sold more than 1,000 aircraft with over 650 flying with more than 100 operators worldwide.
Filed under: Airbus, Business Line, commercial aviation, Companies, Contract Awards, Countries, EADS, Events, Goodrich, Press Releases, production program, UAE
Emirates Selects Goodrich for Airbus A380 Evacuation Systems Support
Letter of intent expected to increase support to Emirates at Goodrich Dubai campus
CHARLOTTE, N.C., Nov. 15, 2009 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Goodrich Corporation (NYSE:GR) has signed a letter of intent with Emirates to become the exclusive provider of evacuation system maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services for the airline’s fleet of 58 Airbus A380 aircraft. A 12-year agreement is expected to be signed shortly. The work will be performed by Goodrich’s MRO campus in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The Goodrich campus in Dubai currently supplies Emirates with MRO support for cabin attendant seats, cargo systems, electronic engine controls, sensor systems, nacelle systems, and other components and systems.
According to Paul Snyder, president, Goodrich Customer Services, “With Emirates, we have cultivated a local aftermarket support program through a simplified working relationship. Providing evacuation systems support is the newest element in this relationship. Goodrich is committed to developing customized MRO and asset management solutions with operators in the region, and we continue to expand our capabilities to support changing operator needs.”
Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ executive vice president for engineering and operations, said, “Emirates is pleased to be working with Goodrich for the ongoing maintenance of our Airbus A380 evacuation systems. Their Dubai facility is a clear demonstration of their commitment to increase the volume of business and support within the region and in particular the United Arab Emirates. Like Emirates, Goodrich is a world leader in its field and we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship.”
Goodrich’s Dubai campus is strategically located to serve operators in the Europe, Middle East and Africa regions, providing local MRO, asset management and AOG services for an extensive range of Goodrich products and systems. Goodrich has additional MRO campuses in Australia, China, Singapore, and the U.S.
Goodrich Corporation, a Fortune 500 company, is a global supplier of systems and services to aerospace, defense and homeland security markets. With one of the most strategically diversified portfolios of products in the industry, Goodrich serves a global customer base with significant worldwide manufacturing and service facilities. For more information visit http://www.goodrich.com/.
Goodrich Corporation operates through its divisions and as a parent company for its subsidiaries, one or more of which may be referred to as “Goodrich Corporation” in this press release.
Source: Goodrich Corporation; GR – Nacelles and Interior Systems
CONTACT: At Dubai Air Show: Martin Butler +44 7774 125885; In U.S.:
Laurie Tardif, +1-704-423-7048; First Call: Paul Gifford, Investor Relations,
Web Site: http://www.goodrich.com/
Filed under: Airbus, Business Line, Companies, Contract Awards, Countries, development program, EADS, Events, Lockheed Martin, Military Aviation, production program, Restructuring, South Africa
The A400M is one of EADS most ambitious military programs. The new tactical transport would be developed and built in Europe for several different nations and provide a possible counterweight to the C-130 for overseas sales. The aircraft has faced development struggles that has led to a two year delay in the delivery of the test vehicles and caused the customers to rethink whether to continue. This would have been harsh for EADS as they would have to pay penalties to the countries that invested in them.
In July it was decided to renegotiate the contract to allow EADS time to restructure it and meet its obligations. The A400M has also attracted some foriegn customers and now South Africa is considering canceling their order for eight aircraft due to a price increase of over 150 percent. If the contract was not canceled by the end of the month the nation must continue on with the program and pay the new price. This would be about $6.4 billion compared to the original estimate of $2.6 billion in current exchange rates.
Defense acquisition programs that run late or over budget are nothing new. Normally when an overseas sale occurs of this kind of system it is after it has been in production for a few years and the price stablized. In this case South Africa gambled that the A400M would be completed on time and cost without any serious issues. This has turned out not to be true and they are facing a price increase of starting over. The aircraft are considered key to their peace keeping capability.
Filed under: Airbus, Boeing, Business Line, commercial aviation, Companies, EADS, Earnings, Events, Press Releases, production program
Bloomberg.com writes that EADS‘ subsidiary Airbus passed Boeing in both deliveries and orders in 2008. For both companies though 2008 was a bad year compared to 2007. EADS orders fell over forty percent. Boeing has suffered in delays to the 787 Dreamliner program that has affected sales, stock and overall company performance. Airbus seems to be past the A380 issues, although the super aircraft will never sell in large quantities, compared to the A350 or A320.
Filed under: Airbus, EADS, Northrop Grumman Corp., U.S. Air Force, Video
I found these interesting videos about the KC-45, on YouTube. The first is an advertisement for the tanker; the second focuses on the KC-45 assembly process. They’re both worth taking a look at:
In an article in the Asia Times Online, Julian Delasantellis argues that Boeing lost the KC-45 tanker contract, because the Bush administration’s foreign policy requires the ability to bomb far-away countries at any time:
What if, stripped of all the flowery rhetoric you deliver once a year at the United Nations, the essence of your foreign policy is simply a never-ending search for new countries to bomb?
You need a way to get the benefits of land-based aircraft for power projection, without the drawbacks of needing to find friendly countries willing to host your local airfields.
In short, you need really good airborne refueling tankers – the coaling stations of the modern age.
Filed under: Airbus, Boeing, commercial aviation, EADS, logistics, Military Aviation, Northrop Grumman Corp., production program, Proposal, Protest, U.S. Air Force
In this press release, Northrop Grumman and EADS make it clear they are ready to fight for the KC-X contract. It states simply that the KC-30 meets or exceeds all of the Key Performance Parameters (KPP) contained in the requirements document for this platform. Read more
Filed under: Airbus, Alabama, Boeing, commercial aviation, Contract Awards, EADS, Northrop Grumman Corp., production program, Proposal, U.S. Air Force
Leasing company AWAS awarded Airbus a contract for 75 aircraft. In somewhat related story, Airbus is now saying that with a successful win of the KC-X contract with Northrop Grumman they will move civil aircraft production from Europe to Mobile, Al. See a press release on the AWAS award here. For a more complete discussion of the move to Mobile see this article. It benefits Airbus to move to a dollar country, as in Europe they pay Euros to their suppliers and workers, and sell their aircraft in dollars. The recent drop in the dollar is affecting the profit margins on their products. The plant they purchased in Mobile is large enough to do both KC-X production and other aircraft. If they are like they have been with the Eurocopter America plant in Columbus, MS they are also willing to expand as necessary.