20 October 2012

Loan share in A350 XWB does not match exactly with the workshare

A350 XWB development is supported by four partner nations; United Kingdom, France, Germany and Spain.
Airbus estimated 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.
France announced in 2009 a support of 1.4 billion euro. German government granted a 1.1 billion euro loan and Britain around 400 million. Spain finally committed to around 300 million euro.
The european workshare in the A350 XWB program can be watched in this picture.

Spain has the smallest workshare on the A350 - about 10%- against the 38% of France, 34% of Germany and 18% of the UK.
Until the A350 XWB program, France and Germany had allocated 37,5% each of Airbus projects in a system once dictated by ownership levels when Airbus started as a consortium 40 years ago.
The new investments have been done in composite research, and due to German support to Stade facility, for the first time in an Airbus, a wing cover is manufactured in Germany, sharing this responsibility with Spanish Illescas facility for the lower wing cover.
We should not forget that allocating Airbus workshare is a country to country competition, not a free market. Every government invests taxpayer money into R&T and competes government to government.

Why German government is currently discussing the workshare?. Because when German government accepted in 2010 the support to A350 XWB program, it was linked to the A30X.  "Final issues" solved in March/2010, were notably how to divide up work between France and Germany on another project, the A30X, the potential successor to the A320 in 2010 -but cancelled later-.
"We want to be sure that (A30X) research and development will be done in Germany," said Peter Hintze, parliamentary state secretary at the ministry of economics in 2010. The A30X's completion was widely expected to take place in Hamburg, northern Germany.
And now, as the A30X was cancelled to launch the A320Neo, Germany wants to review this “final issues” because the unique final assembly line for the A30X planned to be in Hamburg, will never become a reality. And a final assembly line for A320Neo has been allocated to Mobile-Alabama rather than to Germany.

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