PARIS Feb 24 The chief of European aerospace
and defence group EADS EAD.PA replaced the head of its Airbus
Military division, which has been dogged by delays to the 20
billion-euro ($25.6 billion) A400M military airlifter
Domingo Urena-Raso, 50, currently leading the key Power 8
cost-cutting programme at planemaker Airbus, will take charge
of the unit, becoming a member of the executive committees of
EADS and Airbus as well as chairman of Spanish arm EADS CASA.
Predecessor Carlos Suarez "will be offered a senior
position consistent with his extensive experience in the coming
days," EADS said in a statement, adding that EADS Chief
Executive Louis Gallois had proposed Suarez' replacement.
EADS in December announced it was merging its military
transport assets into its Airbus civil planemaker unit to bring
the troubled A400M programme under one roof.
The building of the A400M had previously been managed by
EADS' Spanish-based military transport division, and the head
of Toulouse-based Airbus, Tom Enders, had not been in direct
control of the project. Urena-Raso will report to Enders.
The A400M was ordered in 2003 by seven European NATO
countries to provide airlift for combat zones such as
Afghanistan and for humanitarian missions from 2009. The
project has been hit by a row over engine delays, which could
lead to severe financial penalties levied against EADS.
A French Senate report said this month that the project was
already effectively four to five years late because of the time
needed to build up a meaningful fleet of operational aircraft.
EADS has taken provisions for over 1.7 billion euros for
the delays and is negotiating with European governments led by
France, Germany and Britain to ease the delivery penalties.
EADS said in the statement on Tuesday that technical
aeronautical engineer Urena-Raso had "greatly contributed" to
the Power 8 programme, designed to turn around Airbus after it
posted losses and was hurt by delays to its A380 superjumbo.
(Reporting by James Regan, editing by Dave Zimmerman)