History from the Annals

The beginning of Airbus dates back to the late 60’s. Airbus Industrie began as a consortium of European aviation firms. The Aviation Industry is an expensive affair, therefore, companies generally work together for a common cause. A Similar thing happened in Europe when different manufacturers decided to unite for a common cause. The aim of this particular move in Europe was meant to compete with strong American companies such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Mcdonnell Douglas.

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Point of Initiative

The initiative came from the governments of the UK, France, and West Germany in 1967. Initially, there were only two companies working for this consortium. The French company Aerospatiale and the German Deutsche Airbus. They had a share of 50% each in this combined project. The name “Airbus” was picked as an aviation term referred to commercial aircraft of a certain size and range. The two countries started the first Commercial Program of A300 in 1969.

Airbus Share Holders

After proper structuring, Aérospatiale and Deutsche Airbus took a share of 36.5% in the production work, The UK company, Hawker Siddeley took the 20% workload whereas the Dutch company Fokker took a share of 7% work load. The idea was to pool in the resources held with each company so that each one them could deliver fully equipped, ready-to-fly items. In October 1971 the Spanish company CASA also joined the consortium and acquired a 4.2% share of Airbus Industrie. After this acquisition, Aérospatiale and Deutsche Airbus became shareholders of 47.9% each. 

Brief Timeline of Airbus Commercial Program

Later in 1979, British Aerospace from UK acquired 20% share of the Airbus Industrie. This company had already acquired Hawker Siddeley in 1977. The launch of the A300 Commercial Program was a success. Now there was no turning back. A brief look at the timeline of the Airbus Company shows as how a small consortium with such high aims and objectives expanded in such short span of time.

Organization

The company has now been transformed to Airbus Group. It is being headed by a CEO. The registered headquarters of the group is in Leiden, Netherlands, but its head office is located in Toulouse, France. The company initially started off with the Commercial Program but now the group has multiple divisions including commercial, helicopters, defence, and space.

Various Airbus Products
Airbus Group Divisions: Commercial, Helicopters, Defence and Space

Historic Success of a New Beginning

Airbus’ Commercial Program

There is a long list of developments attributed to the success of Airbus but its commercial program was the milestone of the company. The company took the first step in a formal commercial aviation program in competition with Boeing in particular. The A300 was the first commercial aircraft developed, manufactured, and marketed by Airbus. It was a 320 seats proposal with twin engines on board. This was the beginning of an era that did not stop to date.

The technical team divided the workload among the five countries as part of the Airbus Group; namely France, the UK, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands. According to the work distribution, France would manufacture the cockpit, flight controls, and the lower centre section of the fuselage. Hawker Siddeley was tasked to manufacture the wings. West Germany took the task of building the forward and rear fuselage sections, as well as the upper center section. The Netherlands was manufacturing the flaps and spoilers and finally, Spain manufactured the horizontal tailplane. Rolls Royce was the engine manufacturer.

Airbus A300 Engine Rolls Royce
Rolls Royce JT9D Engine on an A-300 aircraft
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The success of the beginning was the driving force behind Airbus’s success in multiple divisions till the present date. The organization has proven its mettle again a strong, experienced, and old competitor: Boeing in a very short span of time. The success shows the attitude responsible for the exponential growth of Airbus in the last 50 years.

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