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26 March 2009
Commercial Aircraft

Airbus extends Research and Technology cooperation with Dutch industrial and academic partners

Airbus signs R&T project on thermoplastic composites with Dutch R&T partners

Airbus and the Dutch Aerospace industry signed an extension to their Memorandum of Understanding for strategic cooperation in Research and Technology in place since 2005, and initiated in this framework a specific collaboration agreement on advanced thermoplastic composites.

The agreement was signed by Fabrice Brégier, COO of Airbus, Hans Büthker, President of Stork Fokker AESP, Frank Meurs, Managing Director of TenCate Advanced Composites and Dirk Starink, Chairman of the Netherlands Aerospace Group.

The collaboration between Airbus and the Dutch Aerospace industry on the Thermoplastic Affordable Primary Aircraft Structure (TAPAS) Project will ease further exploration of the potential of new materials, bringing together the strengths of the Dutch industry in this area with the R&T developments within Airbus.

Thermoplastic composites use a resin system that can be heat-formed, welded and recycled and that gives improved in-service damage tolerance. These characteristics potentially offer major advantages in terms of manufacturing and maintenance cost reductions and increased environmental friendliness.

The collaboration project will demonstrate the design techniques, manufacturing and assembly processes of continuous fibre reinforced thermoplastics to show the applicability of the material to large primary aircraft structures. The project will be an integral part of the Airbus R&T strategy and will involve Dutch private sector participants as well as research institutes and universities.

"The Dutch Aeronautical industry has been involved with Airbus since 1970, and has contributed from the A300 up to the A380 with top-level technology. Innovation and eco-efficiency are values shared by both Airbus and the Netherlands. Our extended R&T cooperation as well as our collaboration on thermoplastic composites research will further strengthen our links," said Fabrice Brégier.

Airbus is a leading aircraft manufacturer with the most modern and comprehensive family of airliners on the market, ranging in capacity from 100 to more than 500 seats. Over 9,200 Airbus aircraft have been sold to more than 300 customers worldwide.

Sensitive to its position as an industry leader, Airbus strives to be a truly eco-efficient enterprise. To that end Airbus is the first aeronautics company in the world to have earned the ISO 14001 environmental certification for all production sites and products for the entire life cycle. Airbus seeks to ensure that air transport continues to be an eco-efficient means of transport, delivering economic value while minimising its environmental impact.

Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus is an EADS company.

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