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Deadlines Must Be Met By Summer For Boeing Challenger

Development finance for Europe's Airbus A3XX super jumbo, planned as a major challenge to Boeing, is being tied to a deadline by Airbus Industrie's partner countries France, Britain, Germany, and Spain. At the end of the summer the finance needs to spell out how to change the consortium's status to that of a full-fledged industrial company. The governments are urging France's Aérospatiale, DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (DASA) of Germany, British Aerospace, and CASA of Spain to stop arguing about the new structure and turn Airbus swiftly into a viable, self-supporting business. That objective seems easier to achieve now that the French have floated Aerospatiale Matra, leaving the government as only a minority stake holder. Another helpful factor is the shift into the private sector of CASA following its recent merger with DASA. Stressing Britain's insistence on turning the consortium into a single corporate entity as part of an Airbus A3XX deal, British secretary of state for energy and industry John Battle commented: "This will be a vital factor in making any assessment."

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