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Cablegate: Tunisiair Aircraft Purchase Goes to Airbus

VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTU #0787 1981711
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 161711Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY TUNIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5335
INFO RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCNMGH/MAGHREB COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS TUNIS 000787

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA/MAG (STEWART), EB/TRA/AN (FINSTON),
EB/CBA (WINSTEAD AND GILMAN)
USDOC FOR ITA/MAC/ONE (NATHAN MASON),
ADVOCACY CENTER (REITZE)
CASABLANCA FOR FCS (ORTIZ)
LONDON AND PARIS FOR NEA WATCHER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAIR ETRD EINV TS

SUBJECT: Tunisiair Aircraft Purchase Goes to Airbus

-------
Summary
-------

1. (U) Tunisian National Air Carrier, Tunisair, confirmed its order
and signed a purchase agreement for 16 aircraft from European
aircraft manufacturer, Airbus. It also signed an industrial
partnership that will create 200 jobs in the aeronautic sector in
Tunisia. End Summary.

------------
Airbus Order
------------

2. (U) During a July 15 press conference at Farnborough, England
International Air show, the CEO of Tunisair, Nabil Chattaoui, signed
a contract for the purchase of three A350 XWB-800, three A330-200
and ten A320s. Based on the catalog price-list, the transaction is
valued at nearly $2 billion. An agreement in principal on the sale
had been previously concluded in April during the visit to Tunisia
of French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

3. (U) According to local press reports, Chattaoui said that the
Airbus order demonstrates Tunisair's confidence in the aircraft and
the long-term strategy of Tunisair. He explained that the new
aircraft would give Tunisair the capability to extend service to
Asia and North America and would promote its regional positioning.

---------------------------------------------
Creation of 200 Jobs in the Aeronautic Sector
---------------------------------------------

4. (U) Chattaoui also signed an industrial partnership agreement
between Tunisair and Airbus through which promises to create 200 new
jobs in the aviation sector in Tunisia. A spokesman for Airbus told
Reuters that the partnership would focus on components, but gave no
further details.

-------
Comment
-------

5. (U) Before the April visit of Nicolas Sarkozy to Tunisia,
frequent press reports spoke of the intention of Latecoere, a French
company manufacturing aeronautic components for Airbus, to expand
its operations in Tunisia. Latecoere reportedly planned to open a
new factory in Tunisia and create 2000 new jobs. Shortly after the
April agreement in principal awarding Airbus the Tunisiair contract,
negotiations between Airbus and Latecoere fell through. These
failed negotiations dealt with Latecoere purchasing two Airbus
factories in the South of France. These two Airbus factories were
to become the main supply source for the new Latecoere plant in
Tunisia. As the result of the breakdown in Airbus/Latecoere
negotiations, Latecoere cancelled its plans to invest some $150
billion building the new plant in Tunisia and along with it the
projected 2,000 additional jobs for Tunisians. It is not yet clear
how Airbus will fulfill the industrial partnership agreement it to
create the announced 200 jobs.

6. (SBU) There remains a slight possibility that Tunisair will
conclude a deal with Boeing for three firm 737s and one optional 737
for delivery in 2015 and 2016. Boeing had extended this offer until
June 30 and was told that Tunisair had made its recommendation to
the Government of Tunisia which is still studying it. The Boeing
offer also included a partnership between Boeing's subsidiary, the
Jeppesen Company, and the Aviation Training Center of Tunisia, ATCT.
Post will report updated information as it becomes available. End
Comment.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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