AIRBUS TO INCORPORATE, APPROVES SALE OF A3XX
The four European aircraft parts makers that comprise Airbus Industrie have agreed to form one company, Airbus Integrated Co., and to offer the huge A3XX jumbo jet for sale.
The new integrated Airbus company will be 80 percent owned by the European Aeronautic, Defense & Space Co. — a merger of Aerospatiale Matra SA, DaimlerChrysler AG’s Dasa aerospace unit and Spain’s Construcciones Aeronauticas SA. The U.K.’s BAE Systems Plc will own 20 percent.
With the doubledeck, 555-seat A3XX, Airbus is staking its first claim to the large commercial jet market dominated by Boeing and its B747. The A3XX program could cost as much as $12 billion to develop, with each jet list-priced at about $230 million. A freighter version of the plane may carry up to 150 tons of cargo.
To date, Airbus said eight companies — including Air France, Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Atlantic Airways — have expressed interest in acquiring the A3XX. Atlas Air and FedEx Corp. have given support for a freighter version.
Airbus plans to launch the first flight of an A3XX in 2004, with a commercial rollout in 2005.
In the next 20 years, Airbus expects demand for more than 1,200 passenger planes in the more than 400-seat category. The plane maker predicts demand for more than 300 freighters in the more than 80-metric ton range.