The European Union wants very much to make Airbus the top provider of airplanes all over the world. Thus far, they have done so much to help Boeing that it's high time the American manufacturer sent them flowers or chocolates or a certificate for the Beer of the Month Club.
Right now, Airbus is in desperate need of restructuring. There are technical problems with the newest aircraft, and workers must be laid off while the engineers iron out the kinks. Whose workers are going to be laid off, now?
All for one and one for all, the member nations demand that lay-offs be spread out equally. Let one hundred go in Germany, and France must also see one hundred people out of work. Same goes for every other nation that hosts an Airbus manufacturing facility. No matter that most of the lay-offs would most logically fall on one or two plants. This is an EU operation, after all, and it's management by committee.
Christian Streiff used to run operations, or at least he tried his best. For one hundred days he fought the EU Aeronautic Defense and Space Board, struggling to wrangle some bit of control over the place. That's what bosses do, at least here in America, they run things and direct things. He quit when it was clear that he was not actually in charge of anything.
Louis Gallois was tapped to lead, and now he's in the same predicament as his predecessor. He came up with solutions that were as balanced as he could make them, but business is not all so neat and tidy that it was perfectly, completely and totally equitable. Germany, Great Britain and France are determined to preserve jobs in their countries, and so, there is absolutely no solution that Mr. Gallois could ever propose that would make them happy and let him got on with his job.
So where will Airbus build its hot new product, the A350 XWB jet? Which employees will be let go, where will the outsourcing go to save on expenses, where will cuts be made to reduce procurement costs? To become the hottest plane builder ever, Airbus has to be competitive price wise, but the member nations of the EU won't let it happen.
Governments are not suited to running a business, because the government mandate is antithetical to the business mandate. While Mr. Gallois treads water, and the major players feud over his recommendations, Boeing moves along as a purely commercial entity, beholden only to its shareholders. Boeing sells airplanes, locks in orders for future delivery, and the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company flounders. No planes, no orders, but a great deal of hot air expelled.
The men and women of Boeing thank you, EU, for their continued success.