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British Airways chooses Boeing

Stephen Beard Feb 21, 2007
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British Airways chooses Boeing

Stephen Beard Feb 21, 2007
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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: British Airways is buying four new Boeing 777 aircraft with an option to buy four more. The news is another setback for the European plane maker Airbus which is struggling to launch a major restructuring plan. From London, Stephen Beard reports.


STEPHEN BEARD: BA’s decision to buy Boeing was not a surprise — the bulk of the airline’s fleet is American-made.

But the news comes at an increasingly difficult time for Airbus. In fact, the European plane-maker is in crisis. Its plan to cut costs has been stalled by infighting between rival groups of shareholders.

Ominously they have divided along national lines. The Germans have vetoed a plan to save money by citing a major new project solely in France.

Airbus is part of a publicly-traded company but, says Kevin Done of the Financial Times, it is effectively controlled by the French and German governments who are at loggerheads.

KEVIN DONE: There is a fundamental mistrust, a fundamental suspicion between the two sides that the one is always trying outdo the other, take advantage of the other.

Airbus is supposed to be a symbol of European unity and technical excellence.

The German and French leaders will meet at the end of this week to try to resolve the dispute.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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