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Good year for Airbus means steady work for South African partnersYou are here: Media Centre / News & Press
21 January 2014

Airbus says 2011 will be a good year for the global plane maker, which will translate into a steady flow of sustainable work for its South African partners.2010 was a good year,in fact better than expected twelve months ago. The market rebound and improved programme performance has been particularly encouraging, said Tom Enders,Airbus chairman and chief executive officer. Linden Birns, spokesman for Airbus sub-Saharan Africa told defenceWeb that Airbus expects 2011 to bean even better year. 

Our order book backlog now stands at 3,552 aircraft worth over $480 billion. This equates to six years of production at current rates andshould provide stability for our partners and suppliers around the world,including Aerosud, Denel-Saab Aerostructures and Cobham-Omnipless in SouthAfrica".In September last yearAirbus announced it was committing over R4 billion to industrial and relatedactivity in South Africa over the next 10 years. Of that, R500 million was for work related to the upcoming A350. 

Aerosud, Cobham-Omnipless and Denel-Saab Aerostructures (DSA) are the main beneficiaries. Birns adds Airbus' performance translates into further work for its South African partners, with further positive benefits up and down their respective supply chains, In fact,the benefit ripple spread extends to jobs, skills, technology, additional export revenues from local manufacturing and a positive impact on SouthAfrica's GDP," he says.

South Africa is Airbuss biggest joint venture partner in Africa, with Tunisia and Morocco coming in behind. Denel-Saab Aerostructures (DSA) and Aerosud are the only companiesoutside of Europe that manufacture sections for the A400M.

The troubled A400M transport is getting back on track, and is to receive its civil airworthiness certificate by the end of the year. A fourth A400M has joined the flight test programme and series production is imminent.

Denel-Saab Aerostructures (DSA) manufactures wing to fuselage fairings for the A400M aswell as the centre fuselage top shells that fit in front of and behind the wingbox, which joins the wing to the fuselage. DSA had previously manufacturedspars and ribs for the vertical fin, but these work packages were taken away inMay 2010 as Airbus shifted A400M workshare to European countries hungry forwork after putting in additional funding for the aircraft. Aerosud manufactures wingtips, fuselage and cockpit lining as well as the galleys for the airlifter.

The companies will ramp up their A400M-related activity in line with the start of series production on the aircraft. South Africa had ordered eight A400Ms butcancelled them in 2009. 170 A400Ms are on order from six nations, down from 177after Germany cut seven aircraft from its order books.

Regarding Airbuss other military aircraft, it signed orders for 21 CN235 and C295 aircraft in the transport and maritime patrol/anti-submarine roles during 2010. The SouthAfrican Air Force operates a small number of C212 and CN235 aircraft.Airbus says commercialaircraft production increased to a record 510 units in 2010, up from 498 theprevious year. This figure includes 401 A320 Family aircraft, 91 A330/A340s and18 A380s. In contrast, Boeing delivered 462 aircraft last year. 

Aircraft production set a new company record for the ninth year in a row, Airbus said.As a result of increased demand, Airbus earlier this month announced a priceincrease of 4.4% for its aircraft.A total of 644 commercialaircraft were ordered last year 2010 (574 net), with a value of $84 billion($74 billion net) at list/catalogue prices. This includes 452 A320 Family aircraft, 160 A330/A340/A350XWB and 32 A380s. 

Boeing, on the other hand, won 530 orders in 2010.South African companieswill continue to benefit from these orders. Aerosud supplies a variety of components for the A320 series, which Airbus currently delivers at a rate of 38aircraft a month this will be increasing to 40 a month this year. The Centurion-based company is the exclusive supplier of A320 flap-track cans(housings) and also manufactures the A320 avionics bay racks and sheet metal parts for the wings, as well as supplying parts for other Airbus aircraft like the A350. 

Cape Town-based Cobham-Omnipless will benefit as it supplies satellite communications antennae for Airbus jetliners.The continuedAirbus-related manufacturing activity supports the South African governmentsIndustrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP2), which identifies Aerospace as a strategicindustry for development. 

"Airbus has always had a unique relationship with South Africa, Birns says. SAA was one of thefirst airlines to operate Airbus planes and will soon take delivery of a newfleet of A330-200s. In parallel, Airbus has been forming partnerships, jointventures and various relationships with South Africa. 

This includes research and development, design engineering and manufacturing of components andsub-assemblies for civil and military aircraft.

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