Giving birth to a new Airbus
17 January 2007
Referring to EADS's profit warning, Louis Gallois confirmed that Airbus would most probably deliver a negative EBIT for 2006. Nevertheless he said: "For Airbus, 2006 was the best year ever in terms of deliveries and the second best year in terms of sales." Airbus' net order intake for last year is of 790 aircraft and the company delivered a record number of 434 aircraft, leading to a turnover of around 26 billion euros.
Louis Gallois added: "Our backlog is the highest ever in the industry. We have 2,533 aircraft on firm order still to be delivered... making for about five years of production".
Airbus expects to deliver up to 450 aircraft in 2007 and is therefore planning a further ramp-up of production from 32 to 36 aircraft per month for single-aisles and from 8 to 9 for the A330/A340s.
However the turbulences experienced last year with the A380 programme and the launch of the new A350XWB are making it imperative for Airbus to change through the implementation of the Power 8 programme. "Power 8 is not only a cost-cutting programme. It calls for a complete integration and restructuring of the company and of its industrial set-up," Louis Gallois stated.
In addition to Power 8, he listed some of the challenges ahead of the company, first of all "to restore confidence with our customers and our suppliers by delivering on promises". Other challenges include the successful delivery of the first A380 to Singapore Airlines, the ramp-up of the single-aisle and long-range production lines, the A400M, the development of the A350XWB, and the environment. He also announced the industrial launch of the A330-200F, which has received its first commitments.
Confirming the commitment of the entire Airbus management to the success of Power 8 for which some 'quick wins' are already being implemented Fabrice Brégier stressed the lessons learnt from the experience of the A380 and the need for a total integration of Airbus in all its functions and operations. "We have to change the culture to make sure we work as a team. The management is totally dedicated to it," he said.
Playing one nationality against another was "a poison for Airbus" said Louis Gallois, who added: "We have an opportunity to change that now and we'll seize it."
Summing up, Louis Gallois underlined that the current challenges offer Airbus an opportunity to become stronger and stated his confidence in the "birth of a new Airbus, faster, more efficient and integrated, more global... In a nutshell a more competitive Airbus,... which will benefit all our stakeholders. We are fully determined to build this new Airbus," he concluded.