Andrew Doyle/MUNICH

Problems over the allocation of work on the new A318 have been indirectly linked to Airbus managing director Noel Forgeard's unusual decision to launch the programme to build the 100-seat airliner before approval was given by the consortium's supervisory board (Flight International, 2-8 June).

As the Airbus Industrie partner companies struggle to resolve industrial issues relating to the A318 programme, confusion remains over whether the launch has been approved by the supervisory board.

Forgeard announced the industrial launch of the A318 in April after he was satisfied that the number of commitments in hand exceeded the requirements set by the supervisory board last year.

Partner company sources say Forgeard made the announcement despite the fact that programme launch decisions have historically been taken by the supervisory board, which comprises senior executives from shareholders Aerospatiale, British Aerospace, DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (Dasa)and CASA.

The partner companies and Airbus Industrie decline to comment on whether the A318 launch has since been approved by the supervisory board.

Airbus says only that "the A318 launch decision taken by the managing director represents a full commitment by the consortium to its customers and suppliers". It adds that the consortium has "fulfilled its commitments" to enable the A318 programme to proceed.

Aerospatiale is unhappy with the higher-than-normal proportion of investment it faces having to put the A318 into production and the dispute threatens to delay the start of work on the programme. The French company wants to take over some of Dasa's completion work on the A320 as recompense. Major issues such as these are normally resolved before the supervisory board gives its approval for the programme launch.

Source: Flight International