April 2006 
Volume 04, Issue 11 
Industry Wrap

Airbus eyes Chinese plant

European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., which owns 80 percent of Airbus, said last month it's considering building a final assembly line in China for some of its A320 airplanes.

Such a move could open a new front in the battle between Airbus and Boeing for China, the world's fastest-growing aviation market and a nation where Boeing holds a large-majority market share. "Asia is the biggest growth area," said EADS CEO Tom Enders at a March news conference, according to an Associated Press report.



South Korea seeking its own space program

South Korea is making advances in an effort to create a self-reliant space program.

According to the Korea Herald newspaper, the nation plans to complete a space center, launch two more satellites and develop the country's first satellite launch vehicle by next year. These achievements would accompany its nine active and decommissioned satellites, along with ongoing plans to put a Korean citizen in space by 2008.


More big U.S. firms offering high-deductible health plans

In a reflection of corporate America's efforts to contain the exploding cost of employee health coverage, more big U.S. employers are building high deductibles into their workers' health plan options.

According to a recent study by employee benefits consultancy Watson Wyatt, 29 percent of large and midsize corporations this year are offering high-deductible plans coupled with a tax-favored savings account to pay for health costs. Thirty-three percent plan to add one for 2007. In comparison, only 7 percent of companies polled by Watson Wyatt in 2004 had such plans, according to the consultancy.

According to a Reuters report on the study, proponents of high-deductible plans, including big companies and health insurers, call the new options "consumer-directed" because they say patients' increased responsibility for spending gives them more responsibility for their medical care.

"The combination of high-deductible plans and savings accounts can help employers encourage employees to become more discerning health care consumers," said Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health, which conducted the survey with Watson Wyatt. "Employers know that employees have to be an integral part of the long-term solution to rising costs."


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