Streamlining Pays Off at Airbus
By Ken Pole
As of the end of August, Airbus had delivered 3,019 aircraft to 183 customers.
By Ken Pole
The sun-drenched city of Toulouse in the south of France is a study
in contrasts. Located on the banks of the Garonne River, where the
Canal du Midi forges a link to the Mediterranean, Toulouse was settled
before the Romans conquered the region. Its ancient roots still figure
prominently in its architecture. Yet Toulouse is home to one of the
world's leading hi-tech companies and brand names: Airbus Industrie.
Perhaps the most honestly named aircraft company in the world,
Airbus dates back to the mid-1960s, when an agglomeration of mostly
state-owned aerospace companies and their governments agreed that a
European aircraft was needed to compete effectively against American
giants in the then burgeoning global market for commercial airplanes.
In less than four decades, Airbus has grown to where it oversees a
pan-European network of 16 development and manufacturing sites. The
company draws on 1,500 suppliers in 30 countries worldwide. Its
comprehensive family of commercial airliners ranges from the 100-seat
single-aisle A318 to the proposed 550-seat double-decker A380. Its
A300-600ST Beluga, used to connect manufacturing plants in France,
Germany, England and Spain, has the largest freight compartment
cross-section of any existing aircraft.
As of the end of August, Airbus had delivered 3,019 aircraft to 183
customers. The A320 family, which includes the A318, A319 and A321, is
the most popular type with 1,799 deliveries to 109 customers from an
order book of 2,856.