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Analyst: EADS reports of U.S. content on Airbus planes vary

The World Trade Organization’s findings that European countries have illegally subsidized the development of Airbus planes has created a problem for its parent company, EADS, defense analyst Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute said in a report this week.

Airbus wants to prove that winning a contract to build U.S. tankers won’t hurt American workers, yet keep subsidies flowing, Thompson said. “One approach is to tell different audiences different ‘facts’ about how Airbus planes are built.”

According to Thompson, in a September 25 letter to Congress about the tanker, Airbus said its product line is 45 percent U.S. sourced. Two years ago in Paris, EADS told the Les Echos publication that 21 percent of the content on Airbus planes come from North America. Four years ago, however,  the head of EADS told the St. Louis Post Dispatch that 31 percent of Airbus commercial planes are American made.

“Airbus must have an amazingly agile supply chain to vary U.S. content so much from year to year,” Thompson said. “Then again, maybe the agility is concentrated in its public relations office, which knows what various audiences want to hear.”