Sunday, August 19, 2007
Airbus S.A.S. is the aircraft manufacturing subsidiary of EADS N.V., a pan-European aerospace concern. Based at Toulouse, France with significant operations in other European states, Airbus produces around half of the world's jet airliners, with most of the rest built by rival Boeing Commercial Airplanes, though the precise share varies on an annual basis.
Airbus Industrie began as a consortium of European aviation firms to compete with American companies such as Boeing, McDonnell Douglas, and Lockheed. In the 1960s, European aircraft manufacturers competed with each other as much as the American giants. In the mid-1960s, tentative negotiations commenced regarding a European collaborative approach.
In September 1967 the German, French and British governments signed a Memorandum of understanding. In the months following this agreement, both the French and British governments expressed doubts about the aircraft. Another problem was the requirement for a new engine (to be developed by Rolls-Royce, the RB207). In December 1968, the French and British partner companies, Sud Aviation and Hawker Siddeley, proposed a revised configuration, the 250 seat Airbus A250. Renamed the A300B, the aircraft would not require new engines, reducing development costs.
In 1969, the British government shocked its partners by withdrawing from the project. Given the participation by Hawker Siddeley up to that point, France and Germany were reluctant to take over their wing design. Thus the British company was allowed to continue as a major subcontractor. In 1978, Britain rejoined the consortium when British Aerospace (the merged Hawker Siddeley and BAC) purchased again a 20% share of the company.
Airbus Industrie was formally set up in 1970 following an agreement between Sud-Aviation (France) and Deutsche Airbus—itself a German aerospace consortium consisting of Bölkow, Dornier, Flugzeug-Union Süd, HFB, Messerschmitt, TG Siebelwerke, and VFW..
Formation of Airbus
On 6 April 2006 BBC News reported that BAE Systems was selling again its share, then "conservatively valued" at €3.5 billion (US$$4.17 bn).
On 9 October 2006 Christian Streiff, Humbert's successor, resigned due to differences with parent company EADS over the amount of independence he would be granted in implementing his reorganization plan for Airbus. He will be succeeded by EADS co-CEO Louis Gallois. This brings Airbus under more direct control of its parent company.
BAE sale and A380 controversy
On February 28, 2007, CEO Louis Gallois announced the company's restructuring plans. Entitled Power The announcements have resulted in Airbus unions in France to strike, with German Airbus workers possibly following .
The Airbus product line started with the A300, the world's first twin-aisle, twin-engined aircraft. A shorter, re-winged, re-engined variant of the A300 is known as the A310. Building on its success, Airbus launched the A320 with its innovative fly-by-wire control system. The A320 has been, and continues to be, a great commercial success. The A318 and A319 are shorter derivatives with some of the latter under construction for the corporate biz-jet market (Airbus Corporate Jet). A stretched version is known as the A321 and is proving competitive with later models of the Boeing 737.
The longer range products, the twin-jet A330 and the four-engine A340, have efficient wings, enhanced by winglets. The Airbus A340-500 has an operating range of 16 700 kilometres (9000 nautical miles), the second longest range of any commercial jet after the Boeing 777-200LR (range of 17 446 km or 9420 nautical miles). The company is particularly proud of its use of fly-by-wire technologies and the common cockpit and systems in use throughout the aircraft family, which make it much easier to train crew.
Airbus is studying a replacement for the A320 series, tentatively dubbed NSR, for "New Short-Range aircraft."
Until its retirement in 2003, Airbus supplied replacement parts and service for the Concorde.
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