EADS wants to be “considered as a British citizen” and is considering a listing on the London Stock Exchange, Louis Gallois, EADS joint chief executive said at Farnborough yesterday. 

He was asked whether the decision of Airbus minority shareholder BAE Systems to sell its stake in the European civil airframer might lead to job losses in Britain which makes the wings for Airbus aircraft.  

While he said that no absolute guarantees can ever be given on maintaining jobs, he said: “We have a footprint in Britain which is essential for us. It is the only place where we build wings in Europe and the only place where you have the technology for this.” 

He said that EADS expected to create a centre of technical excellence in Britain covering a wide range of technologies. In addition, EADS is looking at appointing a British national to the EADS board.  

“We want to be considered a good British citizen and we are considering the possibility of listing EADS on the London Stock Exchange,” he said.  

“On a business basis we want to be present in the UK and we feel that we could enjoy technologies which are in Great Britain.”  He added that such decisions would only be taken on a business basis.  

His partner chief executive Tom Enders said that there could be no guarantees on safeguarding jobs in Britain or anywhere else in the EADS/Airbus network. 

He said: “The jobs must be competitive and they must be innovative. That is the best assurance that these jobs will stay and can be grown.”  

He added that Airbus had some 16,000 staff in the UK together with some $12 billion worth of orders in the country, not to mention institutional investors. 

“So we have every reason to contemplate a British person on the board [of EADS] but I have to say we have to get out of the nationality trap. If we have somebody on the board it should be somebody who contributes value to EADS.”  

He added that a choice of a new board member would be an EADS choice, not that of the British government. “We are looking for an accomplished business person.”

Source: Flight Daily News