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Airbus announces acquisitions, A330 orders

By control on July 26, 2011

Airbus has inked deals to acquire Metron Aviation, a U.S.-based provider of global air traffic management (ATM) solutions, and Satair, a Danish distributor of aircraft parts and services. These acquisitions come on the heels of Airbus’ announcement that International Airlines Group (IAG) has purchased eight A330-300s for Iberia’s fleet.

The decision to acquire Metron Aviation was based on Airbus’ desire to develop its ATM programs. It’s the reason the aircraft manufacturer launched Airbus ProSky in January, a company dedicated to modernizing ATM programs and supporting the Federal Aviation Administration’s NextGen and Europe’s Single European Sky ATM Research initiatives.

To Airbus ProSky CEO Eric Stefanello, the procurement of Metron Aviation will enable Airbus to support these initiatives even more. “Like Airbus ProSky, Metron Aviation is not an ATM equipment manufacturer, so the acquisition is a perfect fit for our approach of seeking to partner with the FAA and the world’s [air navigation service providers],” he said in a statement.

Likewise, Airbus’ acquisition of Satair enables the aircraft manufacturer to grow its material management division and develop new services for independent and government-owned corporations.

Didier Lux, executive vice president of Airbus Customer Services, points to the multiple implications of this acquisition. “[It] is a logical step toward our vision to become one of the leading companies in integrated aftermarket services for our customers,” he said in a statement. “Satair is a good strategic fit for Airbus, thanks to its wide product and service range, established network of suppliers and customers, strong growth and proven financial track record.”

In addition to expanding its reach, Airbus is also expanding its list of A330 customers. After signing an MoU with IAG earlier this year, Airbus announced that the company — borne of a merger between British Airways and Iberia — has purchased eight wide-body A330s.

IAG CEO Willie Walsh says these aircraft will be more fuel- and cost-efficient than the planes they replace. “Another advantage is they can be easily assimilated into Iberia’s existing long-haul fleet, reducing the need for additional crew training and maintenance costs,” he remarked.

These aircraft will be Iberia’s first twin-engine, wide-body planes.

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