Despite continuing problems with both the A380 and A350XWB airliner programs, Airbus still serves as the main cash cow at European aerospace group EADS.
Surprise, surprise: Airbus CEO Tom Enders is to be the new chief executive of the European airframer’s parent group EADS, succeeding Louis Gallois, who is due to step down—at the end of his mandate—after the company’s annual general meeting on May 31.
The EADS board of directors has chosen Tom Enders to assume the role of CEO when Louis Gallois steps down at the end of his mandate on May 31. Now the CEO of Airbus, Enders will take over EADS for a new five-year term under the company’s bylaws.
EADS’s goal of maintaining equal revenues at its civil and military businesses continues to be compromised by the stellar success of its Airbus division. The European group’s soon-to-retire president and CEO, Louis Gallois, acknowledged as much on January 17 at the EADS New Year Press Conference in Hamburg, Germany.
Airbus has hailed 2011 as a record year for both orders and deliveries. Tom Enders, the European airframer’s president and CEO, told a January 17 joint press conference with parent group EADS that 2012 will see Airbus facing further challenges to streamline production rates and supply-chain issues, while also focusing on keeping the development of the new A350XWB widebody on track following the November 2011 confirmation of a program delay.
Turmoil in stock markets and the prospect of another public debt and banking crisis have done nothing to deter EADS in its expansion and diversification plans. The European aerospace and defense group has a war chest of €11 billion ($15.6 billion) for acquisitions, with CFO Hans-Peter Ring confirming on August 10 that the company expects to press ahead with more deals during the second half of 2011.
Plans call for narrowbody production at both Airbus and Boeing to reach 42 a month by 2014, but the extent to which either company can extend its rates much beyond that level will depend on the supply chain more than the potential capacity at the airframers’ respective factories.
Despite a strong rebound in orders and deliveries, and despite being flush with cash reserves, the new year’s forecast for Europe’s EADS aerospace and defense group remains sorely lacking in one respect: it still can’t turn a decent profit.
China Aviation Supplies Holding Company (CAS) signed contracts with Airbus yesterday covering the delivery of 102 aircraft, including a new firm order for 50 A320-series jets, six A330s and ten A350XWBs. The parties also confirmed an earlier order for 36 A330s, which had already found its way onto Airbus’s order books.
EADS has raised its order projection for its Airbus unit this year to more than 400 aircraft from its previous estimate of between 250 and 300 following a better-than-expected sales showing at last month's Farnborough airshow and indications of further strengthening in the narrowbody market in particular.
- Page 1