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Airbus details restructuring plan

Major shake-up will slash 10,000 jobs

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Critically, Airbus is looking to reduce its financial exposure in development and capital costs. For the A350 programme, "about 50 per cent of aerostructure work will be outsourced to risk-sharing partners". This represents "€1.8bn non recurring costs and €600m associated CAPEX (Capital Expenditure)". This, the company notes, is "proportionally about twice as much as in earlier programmes".

Gallois elaborated: "We will turn Airbus into an extended enterprise. The A350 will draw on this new business model, as we assign large work packages to Tier 1 suppliers in return for a better distribution of future investment, risks and opportunities, with a consolidated supply base.

"This is the right time to consider such a partnership approach. Our order book translates into more than five years of production, and customer demand continues to be very high for our aircraft. We are ramping up our production everywhere and have just launched the A350. We are ready to share attractive business opportunities with strong partners."

What this means in practice is that Airbus may offload some of its facilities to partners or management. It said: "The sites in Laupheim, St Nazaire-Ville and Varel will continue to perform long-term substantial workloads on the current Airbus aircraft programmes, such as the A380, the A320, the A330/A340 families, and the A400M. Airbus is committed to seeking viable future opportunities for these sites, this includes options to sell sites to key suppliers, management buy out or combination with nearby sites. This will, of course, be done in close consultation with the social partners."

The Power8 presentation further detailed measures to increase the efficiency of Airbus's final assembly lines (FALs). Specifically, the A350 will in future "be assembled and receive its interior furnishing in Toulouse, in the same facilities as the current A330/A340, enabling a capacity enhancement of this FAL".

It added: "A third A320 Family FAL will be set up in Hamburg immediately to cope with the steep production ramp-up currently under way. This FAL will be established in already existing facilities and will have full type flexibility when demand for A320s exceeds rate 14 per month. The A320 will continue to be assembled in Toulouse up to rate 14. Hamburg will also perform final assembly of the future New Single Aisle family."

Finally, and in order to "allow parts to be fitted in the most logical place to optimise the overall cycle time", Airbus declared that "some upstream preparatory A320 and A380 cabin installation work will be transferred from Hamburg to Toulouse", although "A380 deliveries will still be made from both Hamburg and Toulouse". This optimisation of the A380's overall cycle time will doubtless be welcomed by customers still twiddling their thumbs in expectation of delivery of the superjumbo.

In conclusion, Gallois said: "None of these changes will be easy, but they are essential to securing the future of Airbus as a world-leading aircraft manufacturer for the long-term, and a business of which all its stakeholders can be rightly proud." ®

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