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The number of apprenticeships drops in Germany, German airports report less passengers and Airbus faces problems fulfilling its targets this year.

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Fewer passengers are frequenting Germany's airports

Number of apprenticeships in Germany drops in 2002

The number of apprenticeships in industry, trade and service sectors offered to young Germans in 2002 has dropped for the first time in 5 years. The Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) released on Wednesday statistics showing that in total about 311,000 new apprenticeships were assigned last year -- 7.4 percent less than in 2001. According to the statistics, more than 20,000 eligible young Germans were not offered apprenticeships. Decline was most evident in the construction industry with a drop of 17.8 percent and in commerce with 10.4 percent less apprentices than in 2001. DIHK president Ludwig Georg Braun expects a similar downturn for 2003.

German airports report less passengers

At Germany's biggest airport in Frankfurt-Main, the number of passengers this January rose by 7 percent to 3.5 million, reaching the level of January 2001, the operating company Fraport said Wednesday. The number of takeoffs and landings at Frankfurt rose by 5 percent in January to a total of 37,000. But last year, German airports collectively had 3.2 percent less passengers than in 2001, a decline for the second year in a row. The number of passengers frequenting German airports with destinations in Europe and overseas again decreased significantly by more than 3 percent each, the Federal Statistical Office said on Wednesday.

Airbus faces delivery difficulties this year

European aircraft maker Airbus will have a difficult time meeting its target of delivering 300 planes this year, the co-chairman of Airbus' parent company EADS, Rainer Hertrich, said Wednesday. After deliveries of 303 planes last year, Airbus planned to deliver 300 again this year, Hertrich said. Airbus chief Noel Forgeard had already warned that 2003 would be "extremely difficult" in view of the current crisis in the aviation industry and "a year full of risks." Hertrich said that Airbus still expected to deliver more aircraft than its rival Boeing this year. In 2002, Airbus received a net 233 new orders for planes, worth a total 18.4 billion euros ($ 19.7 billion), compared with 176 net new orders for Boeing, Hertrich said. Airbus is owned to 80 percent by the European Aeronautic and Space Company (EADS), with the other 20 percent held by British group BAE Systems.

Compiled with material from wires