EADS's ambitious plan to cut costs and rationalise production at Airbus is to begin imminently, with EADS co-chief executive Louis Gallois expected to set out details of the Power8 programme at the beginning of February. Union representatives have been told that talks on the plan will begin soon at European and French national level.

Gallois, who took over as Airbus chief executive last October, is initially expected to reveal decisions on changes to assembly line strategy, says one analyst. Announcements about possible site closures and divestments are expected later, once the company is sure of the support of unions, he adds.

Under these longer-term plans for rationalisation of the work carried out at each site, Toulouse should become the centre for larger aircraft, with Hamburg focusing on smaller types over the next two to three years, says the analyst.

The Power8 plan, which aims to reduce costs by around €2 billion ($2.6 billion) a year from 2010 and save €5 billion in cash by 2010, was launched in October by Gallois's predecessor at Airbus Christian Streiff as a response to the major delays to the A380 programme that emerged during 2006.

Source: Flight International