This May, Airbus will celebrate 51 years of activity, going from being a nascent beginner to one of the giants of the aeronautical industry.
Today, Airbus is a leader in the design, manufacture and delivery of aerospace products, services and solutions to a customer base that spans the globe, with operations for commercial aircraft, helicopters, defense and space.
A little history of the aviation titan
In July 1967 the French, German and British governments signed an agreement to strengthen their cooperation in the field of aviation technology. This gave rise to a company that we know today as Airbus.
The agreement included a clause calling on governments “to take appropriate measures for the joint development and production of an air bus”.
However, Airbus as we know it today would not be formed until 29 May 1969, when the French and German governments agreed to lead a consortium that would produce and sell the A300B aircraft.
Airbus – ModelsAirbus started its production line with the A300, the first twin-engine aircraft with two aisles. Due to its success, Airbus launched the 320, which distinguished itself by being the first commercial aircraft to use a fly-by-wire control system, which for the first time decisively introduced computerized flight management in a commercial aircraft.
The A320 was, and still is, a great commercial success. The A318 and A319 are smaller versions of the same model, while the A321 is the extended-capacity version.
Some A319s are destined for the corporate business aircraft market under the name Airbus Corporate Jets. The main competitor of the A320 is the Boeing 737.
Airbus also supplied parts and service for the supersonic commercial Concorde. However, this aircraft suffered a downturn in its travel, following the crash of Air France flight 4590 in July 2000. This, coupled with increased maintenance costs, precipitated the withdrawal of this aircraft.
Based in Blagnac, a district of Toulouse, France, where the airport of the Occitan capital is located, Airbus is the world’s leading aircraft manufacturer. Its production and manufacturing are located in countries such as France, Germany, Spain, China, the United Kingdom, and even the United States, where the other giant of aeronautical manufacturing and direct competitor, Boeing, reigns.
The European company designed, manufactured and still markets the world’s largest airliner, the Airbus A380, and launched the first fly-by-wire airplane, the Airbus A320-910.
It employs some 63 000 people in France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom. Final assembly takes place in Toulouse, France; Hamburg, Germany; Seville, Spain; and, since 2009, in Tianjin, China, in a joint venture with a consortium of Chinese aeronautical companies.
In September 2015, the company put its unique “pica in Flanders” by opening an assembly plant in the United States, the undisputed home of its most direct rival, Boeing. Located in Mobile (Alabama). The first aircraft from this plant was delivered to the American airline JetBlue in April 2016.
Today, Airbus, together with Boeing, holds a 50/50 share of the global duopoly that dominates commercial aircraft production.
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