The European aircraft manufacturer Airbus announced today the participation of leading Japanese companies to the A330/A340 programmes. This participation expands the strong industrial cooperation on the A380, with a huge opportunity for further collaborations.

Noël Forgeard, President and Chief Executive Officer of Airbus said: "We are very pleased to see these highly skilled and renowned companies join our long range programme. The A330 and A340 are the technologically most advanced airliners currently in production, and proven winners with airlines around the world. Today’s agreements are the continuation of the series started with the A380. We are progressing our collaboration talks with other Japanese companies and are confident that more and more will join the Airbus family."

The Japanese suppliers that are joining the A330/A340 programmes are:

Bridgestone Corporation has signed an Original Equipment Supplier (OEM) Agreement to supply tyres to Airbus final assembly lines (Toulouse and Hamburg) for the rest of Airbus aircraft models. This agreement complements the OEM contract for the A380 tyres signed in June 2003. As part of the scope of the new agreement Bridgestone will develop new technology tyres for the A340-500 and –600 models at its Technical Centre in Kodaira. All aircraft tyre production will be in completed at Bridgestone's Kurume plant (Fukuoka).

Furukawa-Sky Aluminum Corporation will provide a new superplastic aluminium alloy to be used initially in the production of parts for the A330/A340. The new alloy is produced at Furukawa-Sky's Fukaya plant (Saitama Prefecture). The product certification was completed on May 2003. This is the first time for Furukawa-Sky's products to be used on any Airbus program.

ShinMaywa Industries Ltd. will supply the A330/A340 Wing Root Fillet Fairing. Production is to be completed at ShinMaywa's Konan plant in Kobe (Hyogo Prefecture). Delivery of the first set is scheduled for December 2004. This is the third contract awarded to ShinMaywa by Airbus. ShinMaywa is already working on the A380 wing root fillet fairing and A380 wing ramp surfaces.

The A330/A340 Family is the market leader in the 250-380 seat category. To date over 800 firm orders for the A330/A340 Family aircraft have been taken.

Airbus is a joint EADS Company with BAE SYSTEMS.