Julian Moxon/PARIS


With Europe's four Airbus companies due to present plans for the conversion of the consortium into a single company to their respective governments before the end of this month, Flight International has learned that the partners - soon-to-merge DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (Dasa) and CASA apart - have yet to hold meaningful talks on the issue.

At the Paris air show in June ministers from France, Germany, Spain and the UK gave Aerospatiale Matra, British Aerospace, CASA and Dasa until "the end of the summer" to come up with "concrete" proposals to transform Airbus into a single corporate entity (SCE). Dasa, however, says there have been "no formal talks between the partner companies on SCE".

In an effort to kick-start the process, German aerospace minister Siegmar Mosdorf visited Paris and Toulouse last week. German newspapers report that Bonn is encouraging a possible merger between Dasa and Aerospatiale Matra, partly to facilitate the transformation of Airbus. Mosdorf is said to be keen to "hurry up the process", with a Franco-German move allowing the two to assume operational control of the airframer. Referring to suggestions that BAe might be prepared to step back, he adds that "we should be able to find a model which includes BAe sufficiently".

Ministers have tied the SCE issue to funding for the A3XX project, although Mosdorf declines to say if support will be withheld in the absence of a restructuring. BAe is pushing for a decision on launch aid by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, CASA president Alberto Fernande has denied rumours that the Dasa merger has been delayed by a row over final assembly of the Airbus Military Company A400Mtransport.

A final merger agreement is expected "within a few weeks", says the Spanish company's government-owned parent SEPI. It says "the general philosophy is to give responsibilities to those areas where there are existing centres of excellence". CASA will therefore lead the military transport and composites divisions of the new company.

Source: Flight International