June 16 - Airbus Group and Safran have agreed to create a 50-50 joint venture in space launchers, combining Airbus's launch systems with Safran's propulsion systems. As Ciara Sutton reports they hope the move will help them compete with new low-cost rivals.
Hoping to propel themselves, Airbus and French engineering company Safran are teaming up. The venture will combine Airbus' launch systems with Safran's propulsion systems. And at the same time protect Europe's commercial access to space in the face of tough competititon from the U.S. Safran Chief Executive Jean Paul Herteman. (SOUNDBITE) (French) SAFRAN CHIEF EXECUTIVE JEAN PAUL HERTEMAN SAYING: "We will gain reactivity, gain economic performance in the design phase as well as in the production and operation phase." The 50-50 joint venture follows a call from Airbus to overhaul outside partnerships. Company spokesman Marwan Lahoud. (SOUNDBITE) (French) AIRBUS REPRESENTATIVE M. MARWAN LAHOUD SAYING: "Urged by the competition, we must say, "We are living in a time similar to the one that led to the strengthening of the aviation industry, of Airbus and to the work that was done on the engine side for commercial aircrafts. The competition pushes us to change so we are changing" The deal boosted both companies's share price by half a percent. But Europe may still find the low-cost U.S. based Space Exploration Technologies hard to compete with.