What is Airbus?

Airbus is an aircraft manufacturing subsidiary of a European aerospace company called EADS and is based in Toulouse, France next to Toulouse-Blagnac Airport (20091). Airbus is one of the leading manufacturers of aircraft in the world and supplies about half of all the world’s jet airliners. Their mission is to “provide the aircraft best suited to the markets needs and to support these aircraft with the highest quality of service” (20091). Although Airbus’ headquarters are in France, they also have subsidiaries in North America, China and Japan.

Interesting Facts:

Did you know that…

  • Airbus SAS was first created in 1970.
  • President and CEO: Thomas Enders
  • Number of employees: 52,000 (more then 85 nationalities) (20091).
  • Orders and deliveries – August 2009 (20091).
    • Total Orders: 9340
    • Total Deliveries: 5820
    • In Operation: 5554
  • All the manufacturing, production and sub-assembly of parts for the aircraft take place at about 12 different sites in Europe, with final assembly in Toulouse and Hamburg. There are also centres for engineering design, sales and support in North America; sales and customer support center’s in Japan and China; and a joint Airbus and Kaskol engineering centre located in Russia (20091).
  • Airbus has five spare parts centres around the world; 160 field sites; three fully-fledged training centres (France, US and China); and one A320 maintenance training centre in Germany (20091).
  • Airbus uses a global network of more than 1,500 suppliers in over 30 countries.

What sort of aircraft does Airbus manufacture?

Airbus currently produces 14 different jet aircraft types, ranging from 100 seats (A318) to 525 seats (A380 – the largest civil airliner in service) (20091). Airbus made 483 deliveries in 2008 and there was a total of over 5,600 aircraft provided worldwide to customers as of April 2009, with their combined orders totaling more than 9,200 single-aisle and wide-body jetliners (20091). Airbus also manufactures aircraft for the military transport sector. The A400M multi-role military airlifter is being made under Airbus Military management and will replace the older aircraft fleets of the C-130 Hercules and C-160 Transalls (20091). Airbus also makes aerial tankers in a range of different sizes and configurations for in-flight refueling and transport missions.

Airbus_A380.jpg Airbus_A300_B2_Zero-G.jpg
Airbus A380, the largest passenger jet in the world. (image embedded from Wikipedia on 27 September 2009) Airbus A300, the first aircraft model launched by Airbus. (image embedded from Wikipedia on 27 September 2009)

Where is Airbus aircraft manufactured?

Sub-sections of Airbus aircraft are manufactured at different Airbus plants throughout Europe (20091). This trans-national process is arranged around key manufacturing units which are responsible for producing a specific completed section of an aircraft before it is delivered to the final assembly lines in Toulouse and Hamburg. In order to insure that they produce the same quality product each time they manufacture an aircraft, Airbus uses a number of Centres of Excellence (CoE) (20091). Airbus is made up of three parts: operations, programmes and core functions. Within operations there are four CoEs based around expertise in different production areas (20091):

  1. Fuselage and cabin CoE – is responsible for work in parts of Germany (Hamburg, Bremen and Buxtehude) and France (Toulouse and St Nazaire).
  2. Wing and pylon CoE – has responsibility for sites in the UK (Filton and Broughton), France (St Eloi), and part of Germany (Bremen).
  3. Aft fuselage and empennage CoE – works with Germany (Hamburg and Stade) and Spain (Getafe, Puerto Real and Illescas).
  4. Aerostructures CoE – oversees the sites in Germany (Nordenham, Varel, and Laupheim) and France (Nantes, Meaulte and St Nazaire).

All of the CoEs and manufacturing processes are overseen by Airbus’ head of operations and his team, as they make sure that the right tools, methods and processes are used in the CoEs to ensure that the end product is up to Airbus standard (20091). Airbus’ programmes are responsible for working closely with the CoEs throughout the construction process and also for all the work undertaken on the final assembly lines which includes cabin definition and installation as well as the overall management process (20091). The CoEs also have to ensure that they inform Airbus’ core functions (for example human resources, engineering, and quality and customer service), on what is going on during aircraft construction so that everyone knows what is going on throughout the whole manufacturing process (20091).

The main Airbus factory in Toulouse (France). (image embedded from Wikipedia on 27 September 2009)
Main Airbus factory in Hamburg (Germany). (image embedded from Wikipedia on 27 September 2009)

Airbus military programmes.

Airbus Military is based in Spain, and it is in charge of a number of areas that involves manufacturing aircraft and specific military systems, and a business unit that manages the industrialization, marketing and sales of the final aircraft product along with providing any global support and services to their customers and the operation of their purchased aircraft (20091). Airbus Military manufacture military transport aircraft which includes the C-212, CN-235 and C-295 tactical transports to the A330-based Multi-role Tanker Transport (MRTT), and the A400M multi-role airlifter (20091). They are also in charge of any future military derivatives of Airbus civil aircraft and any future military transport developments undertaken by Airbus (20091).

1. AIRBUS (2009). Airbus. Retrieved from Airbus on 20 September 2009.

Want to know more?

This is the official Airbus website and offers more detailed information on the whole company.

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