Boeing, Airbus Face Delays

Boeing’s suppliers fail to meet January deadlines; Airbus faces protests.

(AP) – Boeing Co.’s Japanese partners are facing production issues with parts for the airplane maker’s 787 Dreamliner, The Financial Times reported Friday.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Fuji Heavy Industries are making 35 percent of the airframe, but Kawasaki and Fuji were unable to meet January deadlines, due to issues with technology and materials, the report said.

The cost of making the planes is now rising, and Boeing may have trouble meeting future production goals.

Boeing said it has launched production contingency plans in an effort to meet its first delivery deadline in May 2008 for All Nippon Airways.

Costly production delays for the rival Airbus A380 superjumbo have hurt shares of Boeing’s competitor.

Airbus is facing yet another delay as workers are protesting possible job cuts.

Thousands of workers employed by Airbus in Germany protested Friday over what they fear could be up to 8,000 job losses at the troubled plane builder.

Hundreds of workers at a factory near the city of Ulm, in southwestern Germany, rallied against any cutbacks. Works council head Stefan Hammer said any problems with Airbus were because of management decisions, not worker productivity.

“Already during the first signs of Airbus’ crisis the management found itself wrangling about power, careers and money,” he said.

Airbus workers in Bremen, Varel and Hamburg also rallied against any job cuts.

“Today’s demonstrations in Germany marks only the beginning of a possible European-wide wave of protest should the EADS management plan mass layoffs and site closures,” said Peter Scherrer, General Secretary of the European Metalworkers Federation. “EADS must not only acknowledge their responsibility for their direct employees but also for the thousands of temporary workers and employees in supplier companies, who are affected by the crisis.”

Earlier this week, leaflets handed out by the employee works council for Airbus in Hamburg, where components of its planes are assembled, said that 5,000 to 8,000 workers in Germany could lose their jobs under a restructuring plan, to be unveiled on Feb. 20.

The company has dismissed as speculation reports that facilities may be sold and production moved.

Hamburg Mayor Ole von Beust said that based on his talks with Airbus, facilities in the northern city were not endangered.

More in Operations