While it seems like the A380 first flew only a short time ago, Airbus is well into its next program–the A350 XWB (eXtra widebody). The planned family is scheduled to begin operations in mid-2013 competing against the Boeing 787 (expected to enter service early next year) and some variants of the 777, which began commercial flights in 1995.
Competition between Airbus and Boeing
Boeing and Airbus each declared a measure of victory today following a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling that deemed illegal European launch aid for large aircraft programs. The report, made public earlier today, also declares that a “broad array” of government funding for Airbus research and infrastructure development violated international trade agreements.
Airbus did its best to show a brave face during the May 19 ceremony marking the delivery of the first Lufthansa Airlines A380. For despite the festive atmosphere and the fact that Lufthansa had become the fifth airline to accept delivery of the superjumbo, the struggles the program has experienced couldn’t go completely ignored.
The World Trade Organization has finally passed judgment on the legitimacy of more than $200 billion in European loans to Airbus for six separate aircraft programs. But, still, the outcome remains somewhat ambiguous, as Airbus and Boeing each claimed some measure of victory in the now six-year-old dispute.
The full launch of the new Airbus logistics center in China’s Tianjin Free Trade Zone is due to occur next month. The facility will manage the European manufacturer’s industrial cooperation projects in China, where six companies, in different cities and with individual supply chains, manufacture parts and components for Airbus.
Airbus delivered a record total of 498 aircraft last year, which is 15 more than it shipped in 2008, the company announced today. The figure includes 402 A320-family aircraft, 86 A330/A340s and 10 A380s. Airbus Military, the military aircraft division of Airbus, delivered 16 light and medium transport aircraft.
Despite the partisan claims and counter-claims on both sides of the long-running dispute over alleged subsidies between Airbus and Boeing, it remains extremely unclear whether or not the World Trade Organization (WTO) will ever definitively resolve the issue.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) any day now plans to issue an interim ruling on U.S. allegations over unfair subsidies made by European governments to Airbus.