ILA: Gallois declares A380 programme under control

Berlin
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Airbus's A380 programme is officially "under control", EADS chief executive Louis Gallois insists, although the manufacturer must turn its attention to cutting costs.

Gallois made the declaration as he recounted the development of EADS since its creation 10 years ago.

"For the first time the expenses are equal to the forecast," he said, citing the financial performance of the programme in the first quarter. "It means the programme is under control."

The next step, he added, would be to decrease Airbus's outlay on the type. "I hope, progressively, that the costs will be reduced, and not create more expense than expected," Gallois said.

louis gallois - eads, billypix
 © Billypix

He said the airframer was "overcoming the problems we had". Over the course of last year Airbus halved the amount of outstanding out-of-sequence work at A380 final assembly, and slashed production drawing backlog and the time to resolve queries.

Emirates' follow-on order for 32 A380s at the show is an "acid test" for the programme, he pointed out, because the carrier has chosen to increase its order having operated the type for more than a year.

"We have big respect for the way Emirates is managed," he added. "We're convinced this company has a future."

EADS chief financial officer Hans-Peter Ring also clarified his previous forecast that the A380 would break even in around five years' time.

He said this would be on a "per year" basis. In the current US dollar environment, he says, EADS "could be in a situationby the middle of the decade" where the A380 is "no longer weighing" on the company.

Having expressed optimism over the A380, Gallois said that EADS's two main priorities were to ensure that technical challenges did not undermine the A350 programme - adding that the company was "staying on its timescale" - and to avoid any fall-out from cuts to European defence budgets.

EADS wants to protect its research and development capabilities, in which it has invested €22 billion ($26.3 billion) over the decade, and prevent a "domino effect" from uncoordinated cuts in the countries involved.