Airbus considers expansion of U.S. manufacturing

A weak dollar has prompted Airbus to consider expanding manufacturing in the U.S. to combat the surging euro.

Several news organizations have reported that Airbus Industrie (Toulouse, France) is considering expanding its manufacturing operations in the United States to combat the continuing drop in the value of the dollar against the euro.

Airbus builds aircraft in Europe – where a strong euro means costs are high – but sells them in dollars, so a weak dollar hurts earnings. According to reports in the French media, Airbus parent company EADS’ chief executive Louis Gallois is quoted as saying: "We don't have a choice. There is a deep crisis afflicting a certain number of industries that is due solely to the fact that the Americans are following a policy that will mean a never-ending decline in the dollar.”

EADS, in some reports, says that a 10-cent decrease in the value of the dollar costs the group €1bn (£712m) in earnings. Airbus chief executive Thomas Enders said last month this is "life-threatening"for the company, which is already being forced to cut 10,000 jobs.

In other Airbus news, a report on Forbes.com says Enders reported to the Airbus union that there will be no announcement before Christmas on the buyers chosen for the company’s production sites in Europe. The seven sites in England, France and Germany are being sold as part of Airbus’ risk-sharing plan and are expected to be integral to construction of the A350 XWB.

Gallois reportedly says that talks over the plant disposal program have been complicated by the dollar’s weakness, which has made potential buyers more cautious.