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A350 government aid will fall short of maximum permissible

Airbus insists it is not disappointed by the relatively modest contribution from the UK Government to the A350 XWB programme, formally disclosed today.

The UK is putting £340 million ($563 million) into the programme, primarily for work on the twin-jet's wing.

Airbus estimates the development cost of the A350 XWB at €11 billion and, under a US-European agreement for large commercial aircraft funding, governments can provide one-third.

This potentially meant that the four Airbus governments could contribute €3.67 billion to the A350.

But while the French and German Governments have tentatively committed to €1.4 billion and €1.1 billion respectively, the UK contribution takes the overall funding to around €2.9 billion - some €770 million short of the maximum.

The Spanish Government has not finalised its discussions with Airbus.

But Spain has the smallest workshare on the A350 - about 10% against the 38% of France, 34% of Germany and 18% of the UK - and will not make up the difference.

Airbus wryly suggests that the lower loan capital will simply reduce the repayment burden.

A spokesman for the airframer adds: "We very much welcome the UK commitment to the A350. This brings us closer to a level playing field with Boeing."

Airbus has secured orders for 493 A350s comprising 75 of the largest variant, the A350-1000, plus 236 A350-900s and 182 A350-800s.

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