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.

Airbus 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 [1].

2007 restructuring
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.

Military products

Main article: Competition between Airbus and Boeing Competition with Boeing


Boeing has continually protested over "launch aid" and other forms of government aid to Airbus, while Airbus has argued that Boeing receives illegal subsidies through military and research contracts and tax breaks.
In July 2004 Harry Stonecipher (then-Boeing CEO) accused Airbus of abusing a 1992 bilateral EU-US agreement providing for disciplines for large civil aircraft support from governments. Airbus is given reimbursable launch investment (RLI, called "launch aid" by the US) from European governments with the money being paid back with interest, plus indefinite royalties, but only if the aircraft is a commercial success. However it has been argued that in U.S. government support of technology development, anyone can benefit from the results; even Airbus can benefit from them.
In January 2005 the European Union and United States trade representatives, Peter Mandelson and Robert Zoellick (since replaced by Rob Portman) respectively, agreed to talks aimed at resolving the increasing tensions. These talks were not successful with the dispute becoming more acrimonious rather than approaching a settlement.

On 31 May 2005 the United States filed a case against the European Union for providing allegedly illegal subsidies to Airbus. Twenty-four hours later the European Union filed a complaint against the United States protesting support for Boeing.
Portman (from the USA) and Mandelson (from the EU) issued a joint statement stating: "We remain united in our determination that this dispute shall not affect our cooperation on wider bilateral and multilateral trade issues. We have worked together well so far, and intend to continue to do so."
Tensions increased by the support for the Airbus A380 have erupted into a potential trade war due to the upcoming launch of the Airbus A350. Airbus would ideally like the A350 programme to be launched with the help of state loans covering a third of the development costs although it has stated it will launch without these loans if required. The A350 will compete with Boeing's most successful project in recent years, the 787 Dreamliner.
EU trade officials are questioning the funding provided by NASA, the Department of Defense (in particular in the form of R&D contracts that benefited Boeing) as well as funding from US states (in particular the State of Washington, the State of Kansas and the State of Illinois) for the launch of Boeing aircraft, in particular the 787.

World Trade Organization litigation
The three final assembly lines of Airbus are in Toulouse (France) (two assembly lines) and Hamburg (Germany) (one assembly line). A fourth final assembly line, for the Airbus A400M, is under construction in Seville (Spain). It is estimated that this new assembly line will be operational by October 2006.
Airbus, however, has a number of other plants in different European locations, reflecting its foundation as a consortium. An original solution to the problem of moving aircraft parts between the different factories and the assembly plants is the use of "Beluga" specially enlarged jets, capable of carrying entire sections of fuselage of Airbus aircraft. This solution has also been investigated by Boeing, who retrofitted 3 of their 747 aircraft to transport the components of the 787. An exception to this scheme is the A380, whose fuselage and wings are too large for sections to be carried by the Beluga. Large A380 parts are brought by ship to Bordeaux, and then transported to the Toulouse assembly plant by a specially enlarged road.
North America is an important region to Airbus in terms of both aircraft sales and suppliers. 2,000 of the total of approximately 5,300 Airbus jetliners sold by Airbus around the world, representing every aircraft in its product line from the 107-seat A318 to the 565-passenger A380, are ordered by North American customers. According to Airbus, US contractors supporting an estimated 120,000 jobs earned estimated $5.5 billion (2003) worth of business. For example, one version of the A380 has 51% American content in terms of work share value.
EADS Airbus will be opening an assembly plant in Tianjin, China for its A320 series airliners, to be operational in 2009. AVIC I and AVIC II will be EADS' local partners for the site, to which subassemblies will be sent from plants around the world.

International manufacturing presence
(Data as of December 31, 2003)

Workforce by countries
(Data as of December 31, 2003)
¹ Name of the urban/metropolitan area appears first, then in parenthesis are the exact locations of the plants

Workforce by sites
The Airbus numbering system starts with the main aircraft model number (Ammm) followed by a dash and three digits (-sev) following the pattern Ammm-sev. The model number takes the form of the letter "A" followed by three digits (m), e.g. A320. The series number is a single digit (s). Two more digits after the series number represent the engine (e) and a version number (v). To use an A320-200 with IAE V2500-A1 engines as an example, the code is A320-2ev for the model and series number. Adding the engine manufacturer (for codes, see below), this makes the code now A320-23v. The version is 1, taking the code to A320-231.
An additional letter is sometimes used. These include, 'C' for a combi version (passenger/freighter), 'F' for a freighter model, 'R' for the long range model, and 'X' for the enhanced model.

Engine codes

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