Airbus Gets OK to Compete with Boeing 787

Committing to the A350 assures that Airbus doesn't cede most of the wide-body market to Boeing.


Airbus SAS, the world's biggest maker of commercial planes, won parent company approval to develop the 300-seat, long-range A350 XWB airliner to challenge Chicago-based Boeing Co.'s 787s and 777s.

The aircraft is scheduled to enter service in 2013, five years after Boeing's 787 model, with development costs spread from 2007 through 2014, EADS and Airbus said today.

Committing to the A350 assures that Airbus doesn't cede most of the wide-body market to Boeing. The plane is Airbus' sixth attempt to create a competitor for the 787, which has won more than 430 orders and may help Boeing retake the lead in building large airliners.

''They didn't have a choice, they had to launch the plane, as aircraft of this size represent some 40 to 45 percent of the market in the future,'' said Yan Derocles, an analyst at Oddo Securities in Paris.

Also on Friday:

- Boeing and Lockheed Martin Corp. completed an alliance to combine their businesses for launching U.S. government rockets, uniting the world's biggest defense contractors. The alliance, announced in May 2005, will have almost $2 billion in annual sales and will be based in Denver. It will assemble the rockets at a plant in Decatur, Ala.

- The union representing Boeing Co. engineers and technical employees has filed an unfair labor practice charge against the company, accusing it of failing to bargain in good faith over a replacement plan for early retiree medical benefits for new hires.



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