Airbus bows to Queen’s jubilee and delays key investor meeting

Airbus logo at the Airbus facility in Montoir-de-Bretagne near Saint-Nazaire

By Tim Hepher

PARIS (Reuters) – Plans by Airbus to host its largest investor meeting in three years have been postponed after the keenly awaited presentation clashed with Queen Elizabeth’s jubilee, ruffling feathers among the aerospace giant’s British investors and staff.

Airbus officials have written to participants acknowledging the date for the Capital Market Days was “inconvenient” and set a new date of Sept. 22-23, according to an email seen by Reuters.

The original date of June 2-3 overlapped with two public holidays at the start of celebrations to mark Queen Elizabeth’s seven decades on the throne and raised eyebrows in Britain, where 14,000 employees build the wings for Airbus jets.

The company is the biggest supplier of large aircraft to the Royal Air Force, which plans to hold a jubilee fly-past likely to include Airbus transporters on June 2.

The plan had also upset UK analysts forced to abandon family holiday weekends to travel to France for the event. “The Brits were revolting,” quipped Vertical Research analyst Rob Stallard.

The company was eventually forced to rethink the idea after airlines extended summer schedule cuts to June, in a reminder of the incomplete recovery seen in the planemaker’s core markets.

Airbus, which marked its own 50-year anniversary three years ago, was born as a consortium of national assets in Britain, France, Germany and Spain. But analysts say its UK role has been increasingly marginalised since Britain left the European Union.

A company spokesperson declined to comment on meeting agendas.

The Capital Markets Day is expected to set the tone for months as Airbus aims to defend a strong lead over rival Boeing. Multiple aerospace firms are holding such events to kickstart interest in the sector after the two-year pandemic.

Airbus’ timing headache is not entirely over. Also competing for attention will be Boeing, which is expected to organise its own investor summit in September, analysts said.

(Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Mark Potter)