Super Galland

Yves Galland, president of Boeing France, is certainly noticed when he stays in Toulouse. Having come to the pink city to attend a conference organised by the weekly “L’Usine Nouvelle” he’s having a lot of fun provoking astonishment.
It is obviously perfectly normal that he addresses such a gathering (he has already done so, but for an American publication, Aviation Week). What is less normal is that certain local papers can’t contain their perplexity.
It is true that Yves Galland is like a UFO in the aeronautics industry world. Of course he knows about business( he was previously president of Europ Assistance), but he is best known for his successful political career with the UDF party, he’s been a minister several times as well as being European Representative, vice president of the European parliament, deputy mayor of Paris, etc. And here he is, for almost four years now, brandishing the Boeing flag across aeronautic France, with a great deal of panache. To tell the truth this situation is like a riddle. Does Yves Galland talk in a specific way in order to promote the interests of the powerful American group in France… or has the group itself changed its way of communicating and strategy to suit Yves Galland’s style? Impossible to answer that question!
If we only look at the facts, the results are impressive : the participation of French companies in Boeing’s major civilian programmes literally took off when the 787 Dreamliner was launched, A dozen of them are grouped together in the Boeing French Team and they are playing an essential role; from the software of Dassault Systems through to Messier-Bugatti’s electrical brakes.
However it is the tone that is the most surprising : “ I don’t have an opinion about Airbus strategic decisions, that would be misplaced”. Who is talking? Yves Galland or Boeing? The question certainly doesn’t embarrass the former minister. He points out that at the head of the group’s hierarchy in Chicago, W.Jim McNermey Jr., President and Managing Director of the Boeing company, simply says the same thing, in the same way.
That’s right, it is Boeing who’s changed, Boeing who has gone through a real cultural turnaround , as a result of severe internal problems that are in fact more ethical than financial. It is, Yves Galland explains, the end of the era of arrogance and time for humility and modesty. In other words the duo-pole Boeing-Airbus is benefiting from a levelling out that comes from above. The competition is strong but it is of an honest nature. Moreover, for those who may still be in doubt, Yves Galland affords himself the luxury of talking in glowing terms about Louis Gallois and Fabrice Brégier, the dynamic pair that have been presiding, since very recently, over the destiny of the European manufacturer.
An ideal world? Certainly not! One just has to mention government subsidies to discover the limits of such an ideal situation : if Airbus decided to resort to such aid to launch the A350, in direct competition with the 787, it would be quite simply “illegal”. One thing is reassuring: everyone has his own role to play.
It is fortunate that it is like this. It is important that Boeing and Airbus remain the best enemies ever, in order to maintain the competitiveness that airline companies demand. Each of the two rivals should be aware of the weaknesses of, and the slightest mistakes made by, its adversary.
Boeing has solved its problems, and Airbus is wallowing in theirs. Turn and turn about, Yves Galland must be thinking to himself, knowing that is so much more comfortable to be on the right side of the fence. At the moment Boeing is laughing and Airbus is crying…….what about tomorrow though?
Pierre Sparaco-Toulouseweb-aero

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