The head of European planemaker Airbus is pushing the idea of expanding future production to the United States and India.
Airbus Chief Executive Tom Enders, writing on the 40th anniversary of the birth of the first Airbus plane project, said the company which started out as a four-nation European consortium must keep expanding abroad to stay competitive.
“We have to leave national sentiment behind us,” Enders wrote in a column in Friday’s edition of the Financial Times.
“Airbus will only remain competitive in the long term if it develops resources and markets globally and becomes a genuinely international company, with development and production also in the US, China, India and elsewhere.”
Reuters adds Airbus agreed in 2006 to set up an assembly line for the A320 family of jets, its most popular model, at Tianjin in China to reduce costs and gain an edge against rival Boeing in one of the world’s largest aviation markets.
The first plane will be delivered at end-June — the first time an Airbus has been assembled outside its two main host countries, France and Germany, supported by Britain and Spain.
India has pressed Airbus to consider opening a production line there but so far the European company has been tied up in domestic restructuring and a series of aircraft production delays, as well as fierce union opposition to offshoring jobs.
However, planemakers are under increasing pressure to reduce costs further as the economic crisis threatens airliner orders.
In the United States, Airbus considered assembling freighters in Alabama as part of a deal to sell mid-air refuelling tankers built from the same fuselages to the Pentagon.
But the plans were suspended when Boeing appealed against the contract.
US production is attractive to firms whose costs are in euros but whose products, like aircraft, are priced in dollars.