Yesterday, French President Emmanuel Macron hosted German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Airbus assembly plant in Toulouse. The tour by the two European leaders of the manufacturing facility is meant to be a symbolic gesture.
Specifically, the event was meant to show solidarity in the midst of trade tensions. Part of this public statement and show included lunch aboard an unfinished Airbus A350.
Lunch aboard the A350
More specifically, the two world leaders toured the assembly line of the A350 among other activities. According to News1, Merkel and Macron met just before 12:30 pm at Toulouse airport.
— Airbus PRESS (@AirbusPRESS) October 16, 2019
Following this, conversation was exchanged with French and German employees of Airbus. Lastly, the two leaders took part in a lunch with high school students and apprentices. These young men and women are beneficiaries of the Airbus Campus trades program. Lunch specifically took place in the cockpit of a full-size Airbus model.
— News1 English (@News1English) October 16, 2019
Commenting on the event, Airbus’ director of Sales, Christian Scherer had the following to say:
“The A350 is our flagship, our flagship, it’s our most modern product today, the only widebody and long-haul that has been completely redesigned with 70% new materials and 25% reduction in fuel consumption. fuel compared to aircraft of the same generation”
A symbol of European cooperation
The event was planned in advance of a European summit taking place today as a show of unity. Airbus is founded on European cooperation as it is a collaboration between French, German and Spanish aviation companies.
— Guillaume Faury (@GuillaumeFaury) October 16, 2019
When it comes specifics, Airbus has the following information for its European impact:
- Across Spain, the manufacturer employs roughly 3,400 men and women, producing the horizontal stabilizers for the entire range of Airbus commercial aircraft.
- In France, the area around Toulouse-Blagnac Airport is home to the final assembly lines for the full range of Airbus commercial jetliners (A320, A330, A350 XWB and A380 Families). Additionally, it is home to facilities for passenger cabin outfitting and painting of completed aircraft.
- In Germany, the city of Hamburg plays a key role in the A330 and A350 XWB programs, manufacturing and equipping the jetliners’ forward and rear fuselage sections. Over in Bremen there are over 3,000 people responsible for the “design, manufacture, integration and testing of high-lift systems for the wings of Airbus aircraft”. In Stade, major components of the fuselage and wings of the A350 XWB, made of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer, are manufactured.
Making a statement
Emmanuel Macron had the following to say about the PR event via Twitter (post is translated from French):
“I wanted to meet again in Toulouse with Angela Merkel to defend an industrial flagship at a time of commercial tensions…With the women and men of Airbus, we’ve shown our ability to succeed together.”
Speaking on Europe 1 radio yesterday, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire hinted trade tensions could get even worse:
“If they continue with this decision, we, Europeans, in a few months will impose the same sanctions, maybe even more significant,”
Do you think this trade war will intensify? Is Airbus being “illegally subsidized”? Let us know in the comments!