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Arianespace Official Forecasts Flat Demand For Launch

By | January 31, 2001


      The demand for geostationary satellite launches will be flat during 2001, offering little relief to an industry besieged with stiff competition and increased pressure to lower prices.

      This opinion was offered by Louis Laurent, Arianespace’s deputy vice president of international affairs, during an interview with Interspace’s US editors. The owners of an estimated 25 to 30 commercial telecommunications satellites are expected to sign launch contracts this year, and Arianespace will attempt to maintain the 50 per cent market share it achieved last year, he added.

      Despite fierce competition, Arianespace will resist the pressure to cut prices for launch services, Laurent said, adding that customers still place a high value on reliability and service, which favours Arianespace compared with less-proven launchers.

      “We have not been obliged to follow this [price cutting] trend to win contracts. We are not winning only on price, but on the quality of global services and the value of launching on time.”

      Customers are willing to pay a premium for Arianespace services, Laurent said, although he admitted that pricing did cost Arianespace a launch contract last year.

      Arianespace signed contracts to launch 15 commercial communications satellites during 2000, along with an Earth observation satellite for CNES, the French national space agency, and nine European Space Agency missions for the International Space Station. The European launcher’s backlog now stands at 48 satellites in a variety of deals valued at slightly more than $4.12 billion.

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