A senior Airbus executive said Wednesday it is not a foregone conclusion that the commercial aircraft builder will give work on key components for its future A350 XWB airliner to factories in the U.K.
Asked whether Airbus factories in the U.K. that have been building wings for other Airbus aircraft might see their workload diminished, Airbus' executive vice-president for programs, Tom Williams, said this would be a possibility.
"I think it's a risk, for sure. It's certainly not a foregone conclusion," Williams said.
But Williams stressed that, if the company were to make such a decision, it would do so solely on industrial considerations. "It's not a bargaining chip with the U.K. government," he said.
Williams noted that Airbus's U.K. plants don't have a lot of expertise in the design and manufacture of primary load-bearing structures made of high-tech composite materials.
Williams noted that the wing skins for the Airbus A400M military cargo plane that is under development are being made at Stade, Germany.
[Edited 2007-01-17 21:15:12]