It was the first time that Airbus specifically participated in an event in Washington State exclusively designed to mate the fierce rival to Boeing with suppliers in a meeting intended to increase business opportunities in Boeing’s back yard.
More than three years in the making, Airbus sent top supply chain officials to a suppliers fair organized by the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance and the State Department of Commerce.
Before the event even started, one of the main arterials leading to the meeting was closed during the peak rush hour due to police activity. Wags suggested Boeing arranged the traffic disruption.
In fact, Boeing officials previously have said they support the idea that Washington’s supply chain sell to Airbus and other original equipment manufacturers–though they also admit they like the common suppliers to favor Boeing first. The cross-selling makes from stronger suppliers, Boeing says.
Boeing also had two people at the event listening in.
Here is an article from the Puget Sound Business Journal. We sat down with Airbus’ head of Americas procurement for Airbus and parent EADS for an exclusive interview, and we’ll have this report next week.
But one key piece of information to come out of the meeting that is critical to rival Boeing (as well as the supply chain) is that Airbus plans to produce the A350 at a rate of at least 13 per month. This confirms a long-reported rumor we’ve heard but which Airbus would never acknowledge. The confirmation came from presenter ElectroImpact, which is headquartered in Everett and has a major facility in Broughton, Wales, where it makes wings for the A380 and A350. The A350 facility was built with a capacity for 13 A350s per month.
Airbus has only acknowledged its production plans call for 10 per month within four years of entry-into-service (2H2014). Consideration to creating a second A350-1000 production line is underway and has been publicly promoted by John Leahy, COO Customers. No timeline for the decision has been specifically set, though it may come by year end.