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Airbus A350 Gets the Green Light (Dec. 13)

AMSTERDAM / LONDON --- EADS and BAE Systems have given the go ahead for Airbus to offer a new member of its wide-body family to airlines around the world. Airbus can now begin making firm commercial offers to launch customers for a new model called "A350" (Authorisation to offer - ATO). The new aircraft is a "sister" to the A330s and will be available in two versions.

Already in the early concept phase, the A350 proposition has received an extremely positive response from Airbus customers, many of which have expressed interest and contributed to the concept development.
"The A350 will deliver value not only to Airbus customers but also to its shareholders. The new aircraft will be at the forefront of our ongoing strategy of offering our customers the most up-to-date passenger aircraft in the world", explained the Chairmen of the EADS Board of Directors, Manfred Bischoff and Arnaud Lagardère in support of the decision.

"Airbus has presented a strong business case for the launch of this very significant new aircraft," said Mike Turner, CEO of BAE Systems. "The A350 will contribute strongly to the outstanding Airbus family success story."

EADS' and BAE Systems' decision for the "Authorisation to Offer" (ATO) follows an extensive review of the global market. Detailed analysis and intensive discussions with Airbus customers have confirmed strong market demand for an aircraft of the size and design and with the high-level of efficiency proposed by Airbus with its A350. Market demand in this particular segment is estimated to be 3,100 units over the next 20 years.

"The A350 will strongly contribute to EADS' long-term business strategy and profitable growth. The technological and financial resources of EADS give us the flexibility to pursue promising projects like the A350 and others with a high potential to move the aerospace industry forward," EADS CEOs Philippe Camus and Rainer Hertrich said. "Moving forward with a new long range aircraft is of great importance for the future competitiveness of Airbus' product range as a whole. It will allow for sustained and higher value creation without impeding our medium term target to achieve double digit EBIT margin at EADS. "

Many of the cutting-edge technologies which are currently being developed for the A380 will be transferred to the A350 allowing for strong synergies in development and enhanced efficiency in the production.
The A350 is to be offered in two different passenger versions with capacities ranging from 245 to 285 seats and is set to become another flagship of Europe's aerospace industry. Entry into service of the A350 is scheduled for the first half of 2010.

BAE Systems has a 20 percent share in Airbus SAS. It is a pioneer in technology with a heritage stretching back hundreds of years. It has more than 90,000 people and generates annual sales of approximately £12 billion through its wholly-owned and joint venture operations.

EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and releated services. In 2003, EADS generated revenues of EUR 30.1 billion. The EADS Group includes the aircraft manufacturer Airbus, the world's largest helicopter supplier Eurocopter and the joint venture MBDA, the second largest missile producer in the global market. EADS is the major partner in the Eurofighter consortium, is the prime contractor for the Ariane launcher, and is the largest industrial partner for the European satellite navigation system Galileo.

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EADS and BAE Systems Give Go Ahead for Airbus to Offer the A350