14 Jan 07. Airbus chief executive Louis Gallois is set to announce a major overhaul of the beleaguered company’s plants as part of a restructuring plan intended to cut costs by €2bn (£1.3bn) a year. Sources close to the company indicate that his first move, expected to be announced by the end of February, will be to shift manufacture of all large aircraft to its Toulouse headquarters, with smaller ‘narrow body’ jet production being consolidated at Hamburg, Germany. The move is a precursor to a larger reorganisation that could see up to half of Airbus’s 15 European plants sold off, with thousands of job losses among the 55,000-strong workforce. It comes in response to a crisis at the plane maker caused by rising costs and delays to the A380 superjumbo programme, which have resulted in a dent in profits of some €4.8bn. The A380 crisis caused the resignation of two chief executives, Noel Forgeard and his replacement Christian Streiff, who was himself replaced by Gallois in October. A shift of large aircraft from Hamburg will be highly controversial and cut across intense national rivalries at the pan-European group. Forgeard caused fury in Germany last summer when he appeared to blame the Hamburg plant for some of the delay to the A380 programme. The state government of Hamburg has supported the A380, and is one of a number of German states which want to invest in Airbus, buying a 7.5 per cent stake in the company being sold by current shareholder Daimler Chrysler. ‘There is an argument raging between the company and the German government about this,’ said one source. However, insiders indicate that making the change will eliminate duplication of both narrow and wide-body production facilities at the two plants and generate significant one-off savings. (Source: The Observer)
17 Jan 07. D-day for military training base. Service personnel from all armed forces would be trained at the site. The government is expected to announce a new defence training academy will be based at St Athan, creating 5,000 jobs and £58m annually to the local economy. It would be the largest single government investment in Wales ever and follows setbacks in attempts to make St Athan a centre of aviation excellence. (See: BATTLESPACE ALERT Vol.9 ISSUE 2, 17 January 2007, QINETIQ CONSORTIUM WINS U.K. DEFENCE TRAINING AWARD) (Source: BBC)
17 Jan 07. The Spanish Air Force (SpAF) and the EADS Defence & Security Systems Division in Spain have launched the new European Advanced Training Jet Pilot School at Talavera la Real, located in the Extremadurian province of Badajoz. The agreement between the two partners is part of the transformation process of the Armed Forces of Spain to optimize excellent existing resources. In this specific case, the two partners combine their forces to enhance and adapt the present Jet Pilot School of the SpAF and to offer its advanced training courses to foreign air forces.
09 Jan 07. Transport Aircraft: Availability. The Armed Forces’ Minister stated (9 Jan 07) the number of transport aircraft which had planned to be in service in 2006/07 and the number which were available for immediate deployment during November 2006. The figures were: C-17 – Four (three available); C-130K – 25 (10); C-130J – 25 (16); TriStar – nine (six) and VC10 – 16 (nine).
Comment: Although it was planned that 25 Hercules C-130K would be in service during the present financial year, the figure was reduced by five during 2006. XV206 was lost in Afghanistan on 24 May 06 and four other aircraft were retired. In his speech on Defence (Item 1), the Prime Minister made a passing reference to “….the problems of transport to and from the battlefield….”.(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0703, 15 Jan 07)
06 Jan 07. Tornado Aircraft: 25th Anniversary. 25 years of Tornado service were celebrated on 6 Jan 07. The first aircraft entered RAF service on 6 Jan 82 and IX Squadron became the first operational Tornado GR1 Squadron.