Hamburg has been chosen for the final assembly of the 107-seat Airbus Industrie A318 - but some of its A319 production will move to Toulouse, it was announced at the show yesterday.

Airbus chief executive Noel Forgeard says the decision to split the A319 final assembly offers production flexibility.

He declines to spell out the proportion of A319s for final assembly at each site - a matter for Aerospatiale Matra and DaimlerChrysler Aerospace.

Calling it a "wise decision by the partners", Forgeard says: "In order to get greater balance between the two sites, there will be a certain number of A319s that will be built at Hamburg and a certain number that will be built at Toulouse.


"We are introducing flexibility between Hamburg and Toulouse."

Turning to the issue of transforming Airbus into a single corporate entity (SCE) - a process currently stalled - Forgeard says he remains "optimistic" that it will happen. "I'm absolutely confident that the transformation will bedone."

He dismisses out of hand the idea he might quit Airbus because of the failure of the Airbus partners to progress moves towards a SCE.

He says he continues to "draw the attention" of the shareholders to the value of making the transformation.


He says it was an important consideration in creating an Airbus fit to take on the future challenge from Boeing.

"Our competitor is not the Boeing of today but the Boeing of three years' time.

"It will be rejuvenated and we have to prepare ourselves for that."

In his overview presentation, Forgeard said he welcomed the DaimlerChrysler Aerospace and Casa merger but did not believe that it will make a significant change to Airbus affairs as the two companies' shares will not be pooled.

Above all, Airbus is here in celebratory mood - marking the 30th anniversary of the launch, at Paris, of the first Airbus model, the A300.


In the intervening years, the civil market has been transformed from one in which it was dominated by three North American airframers to one where the market is split between Europe and the USA.

With a 1,300-aircraft order backlog and turnover at $17 billion a year, "we have the assets to face the challenges of the next century", Forgeard says.

"However, the temptation for complacency is the worst enemy. We have to remain alert because the game is far from over."

Source: Flight Daily News