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Germany should pay the remaining 600 million euros ($829 million) of a disputed development loan for Airbus’s A350 passenger plane now the aircraft maker has allocated work to German employees, an Airbus executive said.
The German government had demanded that Airbus guarantee a certain amount of the work on the lightweight A350 plane would be done in Germany as a condition for paying out the remaining part of the loan.
Chief Operating Officer Guenter Butschek told newspaper Tagesspiegel Airbus had now assigned 4,000 of the A350 jobs to Germany, 250 percent more than targeted, while the German share of development was significantly above the one-third promised.
“We have therefore far exceeded our promises and believe there is now no reason to withhold the remaining payment,” he said in an interview published on Saturday.
“The ball is now in the government’s court,” Butschek was quoted as saying.
Any payout will have to wait for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives to conclude coalition talks after her party won September’s federal election but failed to gain enough votes for a majority.
“The conditions for the payment of the loan to Airbus can only be determined by the future government,” a spokeswoman for the federal ministry of economics said on Saturday. “The ministry does not want to bind the future government to any decisions made on this matter at the present time.”
Butschek told the paper the A350 project was moving forward without the loan and that the first plane was on track to be delivered in the second half of 2014. The A350 is designed to compete with Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner and the larger Boeing 777.
(Reporting by Georg Merziger and Gernot Heller; Writing by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Catherine Evans)