Airbus chief executive Noel Forgeard yesterday poured scorn on Boeing's move into sectors outside its core airframe business, describing it as "flashy diversification".

He made clear that Airbus believed it had done most of what it needed to, with the exception of matching the activities of aeronautical information specialist Jeppesen, bought by Boeing last year.

Stressing Airbus's financial health he talked up the company's success in slashing its exposure to customer aircraft financing and added: "We invest our profits in the core business and not in flashy diversifications or buy-back of shares."

Challenged to explain why the moves were such a bad idea, Forgeard addressed first the Connexion by Boeing air/ground cabin communications service, saying it was only operating at all thanks to a US Air Force contract to equip four aircraft.

"This addresses a real market that we address as well with Tenzing. But it seems that Connexion works so well that they need a $150 million military contract to launch the thing. We don't benefit from this kind of support for our initiatives. We have much lower, unique equipment cost in the aircraft."

Forgeard also questioned the Boeing ATM programme, saying: "The initiative of Boeing is far-reaching. It is a totally new concept that is still very much debated even within the USA and it is also an offer to manage air transport which raises other questions about conflicts of interest."

Source: Flight Daily News