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Merkel, Person of the Year

New York, NY: Aviation Week named Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, as its 2012 Person of the Year in a cover story published last week in Aviation Week & Space Technology. As Europe’s most powerful leader and having the most impact on aerospace in 2012, she had blocked the $45 billion merger between European Aeronautics Defence & Space Company (EADS) and Britain’s BAE Systems (BAE), successfully devastating the deal.  A key influence in the aerospace industry, Merkel has revolutionized the very arc of Europe’s largest aerospace and defense company and disallowed change of the industrial landscape.

“Angela Merkel possesses a distinct skepticism about majestic visions of European integration, and as a result killed the EADS-BAE tie-up for purely political reasons,” said Aviation Week & Space Technology Editor-in-Chief Joseph C. Anselmo.

The merger’s downfall is rooted to the instability of Europe, incongruity, and doubt.  Berlin's budding umbrage of its loss of influence within EADS, caution about France, and uncertainty about the motives of the firm's German CEO Tom Enders are all sad realities of external forces.  But despite all these components, Germany is strengthened by its rising stature in Europe, developing jobs and advancements in technology.

“Germany's veto shows the extent to which the European aerospace industry is under political control,” said Jens Flottau, Managing Editor,Aviation Week & Space Technology. “Regardless of whether or not the merger would have been a commercial success, it was certainly blocked for the wrong reasons.”

The Person of the Year distinction, the eighth in Aviation Week’s 97-year history, recognizes the impact individuals have on the broader A&D community. Aviation Week staff editors selected Chancellor Angela Merkel from an international field of candidates. Prior recipients include Louis R. Chenevert, chairman and CEO of United Technologies Corp. (2011), United Continental CEO Jeff Smisek (2010); the Space Entrepreneur (2009); former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (2008); the father of China's space program, Tsien Hsue-shen (2007); Alan Mulally, previously of Boeing Co. (2006); and Pier Francesco Guarguaglini, previously of Finmeccanica (2005).