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AeroMatra's Camus on Airbus, EADS (May 2)

A3XX project
"As far as we are concerned, it is quite clear that we will build the A3XX. The plans we will present as part of the EADS floatation include the launch of this aircraft...

"In overall terms, this programme will cost between 10 and 12 billion euro, depending on the options chosen. Our partners will invest around 40% of that total. Additional partnerships will be announced in the weeks ahead. Of the remaining 6 billion euro required, one third will be financed by the governments concerned under repayable aid mechanisms that comply with the Europe/USA agreements of 1992.

"That leaves 4 billion euro spread over 5 years. We are therefore talking about 800 million euro a year, split between investment and research and development costs. It is perfectly feasible for a company such as EADS to finance this amount, even if it does represent a bump in our investment plans."

Defense and Europe
"We are in a paradoxical situation where governments encourage manufacturers to get together but have been slow to get themselves into gear. Companies have done what they had to do. We now need governments to take up the torch and match our level of integration. That's what we're asking governments to do so that we can benefit from the same competitive conditions as American companies. For example, I only want to have one point of contact when I need authorisation to export or to transfer technology.

"We must ensure that Europe becomes a single integrated area. A German engineer working in France or a French engineer working in Germany shouldn't be subject to different technology transfer and national security regulations to those that apply to engineers working in their native countries. "

"We really do need strong European integration at programme level. American defence expenditure is currently twice as high as that of Europe. Despite that, we divide up our engineering ability between competing programmes. We now need programmes that bring us together. This clearly poses problems, because it requires agreements between several armies. We must work towards building a common European defence policy. "

The EADS spirit
"We are ahead of what governments are doing, because we are already defining a European business model in consultation with employee representatives from all three countries... We are now in the process of taking the best from all three cultures. The creation of a truly EADS spirit is one of the main preoccupations shared by my German colleague, Rainer Hertrich, and myself... It's up to us to create a common culture around this major European project.


Abstracts From Interview of Philippe Camus, Chairman of Aerospatiale Matra (published in Le Figaro, May 2)