CASA Crash

Questions and concerns about the safety and reliability of EADS CASA aircraft, and about the reliability of EADS as a U.S. defense partner

30 October 2006

Sweden grounds EADS CASA fleet after fatal crash

After losing four crewmen in an October 26 crash, the Swedish Coast Guard grounded its two remaining EADS CASA C-212 patrol planes.

The third C-212 crashed during a fly-by at the Skanör-Falsterbo Coast Guard facility, sinking into a canal with the loss of all on board, reports.

The plane was on a "routine patrol flight," according to the report.

Eyewitnesses said that a wing fell off the plane before it crashed. Swedish Coast Guard authorities could not confirm the accounts pending recovery of the wreckage.

14 October 2006

Group circulates e-petition to Congress about EADS CASA and Chavez

A new electronic petition has gone online, urging Congress to stop doing business with EADS CASA because of the company's involvement with the Chavez regime in Venezuela and other issues. The sponsoring website compares EADS CASA to the CITGO oil company, which is owned by the Venezuelan government.

The petition, on, exhorts readers to "Stop Congress from funding a foreign company that's arming Chavez."

A graphic shows a C-295 labeled, "Hugo Cargo."

Notice of the petition went out in today's e-newsletter. The petition says, in part, "American motorists who gas up at CITGO are sending cash directly to CITGO’s owner: the regime of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez.

"While consumers can choose not to buy CITGO gasoline, some people in Congress have found another way to help – by funding a European defense company that’s helping modernize Chavez’s military.

"That company is part owned by the French and Russian governments. Its lobbyists in Washington have convinced Congress to buy its patrol planes for the Coast Guard.

"Now it’s lobbying for billions of dollars more in taxpayer money to build a tactical transport plane for the United States Army and Air Force."

Readers may fill out an online form and send an electronic petition to Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner (R-Virginia) and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-California), as well as "the man who is behind the EADS CASA deal: Senator Richard Shelby."

The website links to other sites concerned with Venezuela and the aircraft company, including this one,

12 October 2006

Putin denies plans for hostile takeover of EADS

Visiting Germany, Russian President Vladimir Putin denied any plans for his government to take control of the EADS aerospace giant.

"We have no plans for a hostile takeover," Putin said in Moscow News.

Last month, Putin aide Sergei Prikhodko said the Russian government would not rule out buying a blocking stake in EADS.

Russia's state-owned foreign trade bank Vneshtorgbank bought up 5.02 percent of EADS shares this year, and did not inform the company of its stake until September.
Putin’s aide Sergei Prikhodko said in mid-September that he did not rule out the purchase of a blocking stake in EADS, which holds an 80 percent stake in Airbus, and other assets.

Now, Putin denies that his state-owned gas monopoly Gazprom is seeking to takeover the European defense conglomerate. "Gazprom has never had plans for the acquisition of EADS," he said, acknowledging Vneshtorgbank's purchase.

Russia might buy 10% of EADS, 'maybe more,' says Putin

The Russian government of President Vladimir Putin wants a bigger piece of EADS, and hopes to build ownership in the company through reciprocal stakes for EADS in Russian state-owned enterprises.

"Putin, on a two-day visit to meet German political and business leaders, told German daily Zuddeutsche Zeitung in an interview that the country’s newly formed Unified Aircraft Corporation (UAC) is objectively interested in building closer production ties with EADS through cross-ownership," reports.

"Noting the recent purchase of a 5% stake in EADS by state-controlled Vneshtorgbank, he says: 'I personally believe that Russia could in time increase its stake up to 10%, maybe more.'"

Kremlin wants role in EADS management decisions

The Kremlin wants to have a role in making management decisions for EADS, adding to the controversy surrounding its purchase of a five percent stake in the company and President Putin's open desire for more.

Putin told German businessmen and politicians that he predicates any deal "on Russia’s capability to have a hand in EADS’ corporate matters," reports.

The state premier of Bavaria, Edmund Stoiber, is cool to the idea. After meeting with Putin, he was quoted as saying, “I asked him to understand that in some strategic industries there are limits to taking reciprocal stakes."

05 October 2006

Military transport plane's future now in doubt

An important EADS military transport plane has a cloudy future thanks to the company's managerial chaos and nosediving production.

Development of the A400M military transporter is now "under pressure," Agence France Presse reports. EADS plans to build 195 of the long-range, four-engine turboprop aircraft, which is designed to compete with the Lockheed C-130.

A French defense official said on October 3 that Paris expects no delay in A400M deliveries. However, the Financial Times reports on October 5 that Airbus CEO Christian Strieff admitted the A400M might suffer cost overruns or delays.

According to AFP, "comments from top [EADS] officials . . . called into question the future" of the A400M and the widebody A350.

04 October 2006

Unreliable production earns EADS a shaky future

Investors are fleeing from EADS, with the company losing 15 percent of its value in two days after official news of yet another major production delay.

Defense analysts in Washington are concerned that the dim prospects for the company make EADS look like an unreliable partner for long-term programs like the Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA).

EADS is losing at least $3.6 billion in profits on one of its newest products, the A380 superjumbo jet, which is to be delayed another two years. "Some airlines failed to rule out the possibility of order cancellations," AP Business News reports.

According to Agence France Presse, EADS is expected to lose $6 billion over the next four years on the A380 alone.

Big investment houses are slashing their price targets for EADS. Morgan Stanley, UBS, Credit Suisse and WestLB are among the pessimists. UBS even questions the viability of EADS's restructuring plan.

Customers are readying to run away. Emirates, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas and Virgin Atlantic are all considering cancellation of their orders, according to AP. The order from Dubai-based Emirates Airline was huge: 45 planes. US-based Boeing is benefitting from the chaos.

EADS is stuck with a clunky production model that requires balance among its British, French, German and Spanish Airbus plants, and is subject to unusual interference from politicians from each country.

The chain reaction may have far-reaching results. One brokerage house warns that EADS might receive a downgraded credit rating, which along with the billions of dollars in lost profits and stock value, would make it difficult for the company to raise money for a new line of jetliners.

03 October 2006

More reliability worries as radical EADS CASA unions hold protest

Under the red-and-black anarcho-marxist banner of the General Workers' Confederation (CGT), EADS CASA workers protested the aircraft company's non-renewal of contracts for younger workers. They marched in "concentrations" in what the CGT's newsletter, Red and Black, calls the "first response" to the company's attempt to run more efficiently.

The European Union's controversial labor laws make it extremely difficult for companies to fire incompetent or undesirable employees. EADS has been unable to make good on its orders for Airbus jets, causing concerns in Washington that the company might fail to meet Pentagon deadlines should it win the contract to build the Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA).

US policymakers are already alarmed at the potential for a Russian government-owned bank to buy a blocking share of EADS stocks. They are asking questions about whether and how the Pentagon should issue a large contract to a company that could be taken over by the Russians.

In January, EADS CASA employees held a brief work stoppage to protest the US blockage of the sale of 12 of the company's military transport planes to the Hugo Chavez regime in Venezuela. (CGT stock photo)