A bullish EADS talked up the state of the commercial market at the show yesterday and predicted massive growth in its defence revenues in the next two years.

The joint chief executives of the European giant, Frenchman Philippe Camus and his German colleague Rainer Hertrich, poured scorn on Boeing's suggestion that they have overestimated the civil aviation market in 2003/04.

Speaking here at the show they went as far as to claim that EADS had successfully managed the downturn, and was seeing signs of recovery.

In support of the claim they cited the positive acceptance of the Airbus A380 with 97 firm orders and commitments as signal of confidence. "If anyone wants to talk about over-production in the commercial market, it's certainly not us. Our numbers are based on firm orders and discussions with our clients. We are confident that EADS and our subsidiary Airbus can manage the uncertainties still ahead and that substantial growth in air transport in 2004 onwards. In fact we can confirm the Airbus delivery outlook for 2003 of 300 aircraft," says Hertrich.


Camus outlined the group's target to increase defence income by 50% from $6billion (E6bn) in 2001 to $9billion (E9bn) in 2004 and to double the defence backlog to $40billion (E40bn) in the same time. "Our defence business will be increasingly profitable as many of our products move from development to delivery," he said. Hertrich confirmed that delayed German financing for the A400M programme was now secured, "whoever wins the elections."

Meteor funding from the same source is not yet finalised, "but will be by year end," he says. Stressing the company's commitment to the UK, where it employs almost 12,000 people in subsidiaries or joint ventures, Camus says: "In the UK, EADS has a significant and long-established presence with its aeronautics, defence and space interests which include Airbus, Eurocopter, Defence Electronics MBDA missiles and Astrium. Our goal is clear: to expand our UK business – as a premier supplier and a credible prime contractor in the UK."

EADS opened the show announcing Airbus' cooperation with Thales on air traffic management, claiming "additional announcements with other defence leaders are due to come during Farnborough airshow". In the freight market it is expected to sign a deal with Qatar on Wednesday.

Source: Flight Daily News