Several news organizations are reporting that GKN Plc (London, U.K.) has submitted a proposal to be an Airbus Industrie (Toulouse, France) partner at its facility at Filton, U.K., while Spirit AeroSystems (Wichita, Kan.) and Stork Fokker (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) are looking at two Airbus plants in Germany. Airbus, as part of its Power8 manufacturing restructuring plan, has selected six facilities in Europe either to be sold to or operated by a third party company in an investment partnership.
Airbus’s U.K. operations in Filton are the center of excellence for the company’s wing and composites manufacturing technology, and the 2,000 engineers based at Filton represent the type of jobs the British government says it wants to encourage. GKN’s chief executive, Kevin Smith, reportedly has that said Airbus’s parent, EADS, could make a decision in September regarding GKN’s offer, but GKN appears to be facing competition for the site from American and Chinese firms. Spirit AeroSystems also is thought to have submitted a bid, and some reports suggest that state-run aerospace operations in China also are interested in the facility.
Meanwhile, in Germany, Spirit AeroSystems and Stork Fokker reportedly have visited two Airbus sites in Varel and Nordenham. It’s not known if either company has submitted formal bids for the facilities. OHB Technology (Bremen, Germany) also is said to have shown interest in the two facilities.