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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 October 2006, 12:08 GMT 13:08 UK
Spain and Germany guard A380 jobs
Airbus A380
The A380's wings are made in the UK at Broughton, Flintshire
Spain and Germany have said they will try to protect workers after planemaker Airbus warned of "painful" job cuts.

Airbus warned it was looking to reduce manufacturing costs after further delays to its new A380 superjumbo.

Spanish Economy Minister Pedro Solbes said Spain was interested in raising its minority stake in EADS, the parent firm of Airbus, to safeguard factories.

German Economy Minister Michael Glos said his government would "work with all its strength" to help local sites.

National interests

The A380 was supposed to usher in a new era of air travel and profitabilty that would establish Airbus as the world's top manufacturer of commercial jets.

But production of the aircraft has been hit by a series of problems in recent months.

Recent concerns came to a head on Monday when chief executive Christian Streiff resigned.

He was replaced by Louis Gallois, who announced that production of the A380 - which can carry more than 550 passengers - would be delayed by two years and there would be job losses as a result.

New Airbus boss Louis Gallois
Louis Gallois has taken over Airbus at a tricky time

Analysts said that there were now likely to be political wranglings over where and when the job cuts came.

Airbus is owned by EADS, which in turn is dominated by France and Germany. Spain owns a minority 5.5% stake in EADS, though it wants to double that holding.

Speaking on Wednesday, Spain's Mr Solbes said: "Our interest is not only in increasing our shareholding, but the rethinking of our involvement in Airbus, above all guaranteeing the activities that Airbus and EADS have in Spain."

For Germany, the key to future discussions was ensuring that the job cuts were not borne too heavily by one single nation.

"We will watch out so that the possible burdens are distributed fairly," Germany's Mr Glos said.

"I expect company management now to decide quickly what steps are necessary to overcome the difficult situation at Airbus, and involve employees appropriately in this."

British picture

In the UK, where EADS employs 13,000 workers and builds wings for its planes, unions have called on management to give assurances over jobs.

EADS has operations at Broughton, Flintshire, and Filton, Bristol.

The delays to the Airbus A380 are set to cost the company $6.1bn over the next four years.

Airbus has sold 159 of the $250m jets to 16 airlines, many of whom are already demanding penalties for late delivery.

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