Airbus bows to the Queen after rebellion over Platinum Jubilee

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An Airbus A350 takes off at the aircraft builder's headquarters in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, September 27, 2019 - REGIS DUVIGNAU/REUTERS
An Airbus A350 takes off at the aircraft builder's headquarters in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, September 27, 2019 - REGIS DUVIGNAU/REUTERS

Airbus has been forced to postpone its largest investor day for three years after a rebellion by British analysts who refused to travel to France during the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.

The two-day summit has been delayed until Sept 2 after it was scheduled to take place on the first Thursday and Friday in June.

Officials wrote to participants in the Franco-German aerospace titan's capital markets day to acknowledge that the original dates were “inconvenient”, according to an email seen by Reuters.

Had it gone ahead, British investors would have missed out on two of the four days of the extended bank holiday to mark 70 years since the Queen acceded to the throne.

"The Brits were revolting," said Rob Stallard, an analyst at Vertical Research.

Airbus, the sixth-biggest company on the French stock exchange, is the largest supplier of aircraft to the RAF and employs 14,000 people in the UK.

The company’s transporter planes are likely to participate in a fly-past for the royal occasion on Jun 2. Its capital markets day is expected to be a key moment for Airbus to show investors how far it leads rival Boeing in the global aerospace market.

Boeing has struggled in the past few years as it grappled with the fallout from two crashes of its flagship short-haul plane the 737 Max. Technical problems with the jet have now been fixed.

Airbus, meanwhile, has forged ahead with its rival model to the 737 Max - the A321 - which is proving popular among airlines as they restart operations following two lean years during the pandemic.

Boeing is expected to run its own capital markets day in September as well. Airbus is locked in a bitter legal row with Qatar Airways, one its biggest customers, over claims “flaky paint” has compromised safety on its larger A350 planes.

Qatar Airways is suing Airbus in the High Court for more than £1bn in damages. Airbus, meanwhile, has accused the airline’s repainting team of damaging one of its aircraft by using the wrong paint stripper.

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