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Airbus SAS

legal form Société par actions simplifiée (public limited company)
founding 1970 as Airbus Industrie
Seat Toulouse , FranceFranceFrance 
management Guillaume Faury (Chairman of the Board)
Number of employees 80,985 (2019)
sales 54.775 billion € (2019)
Branch Aircraft construction
As of December 31, 2019

Airbus SAS , based in Toulouse, is a subsidiary of Airbus SE and the largest European aircraft manufacturer . Airbus has been the world's largest aircraft manufacturer since the end of 2019. Together with Boeing , Airbus forms the duopoly for wide-body aircraft .

Airbus delivered its first aircraft of the type Airbus A300 , the prototype of which had flown for the first time on October 28, 1972, on May 30, 1974 to its first customer Air France. Since the year 2000, the until then purely civilian manufacturer, at that time through the takeover of CASA , and from 2014 by the sister company Airbus Helicopters , have also been producing aircraft types for military operators. On October 14, 2016, the 10,000th Airplane, an A350-900 delivered for Singapore Airlines .

Assembly plants are located in France, Germany, Spain, Great Britain, China and the USA. In 1996 the subsidiary Airbus Transport International was founded, which operates the five Airbus Beluga wide-body transport aircraft, which are mostly used for in-house logistics (transport of pre-assembled components such as fuselage sections and wings between the production sites).



In the run-up to the establishment on July 2, 1965, the "Airbus Working Group" for concept studies was established on the German side by the companies Bölkow (via the subsidiary Siebel Flugzeugwerke ATG ), Dornier-Werke , Hamburger Flugzeugbau (HFB), Messerschmitt AG (via the subsidiary Flugzeug -Union Süd GmbH) and the United Flugtechnischen Werke (VFW) were founded with 20% ownership each. The aim of the company that emerged from the merger was to bring competitive passenger aircraft to the US manufacturers Boeing and McDonnell Douglas on the market. Because of the great need for capital and knowledge, this would never have been possible for European aircraft manufacturers individually.

In the same year, 1965, the first talks took place between the German Airbus consortium, the French Aérospatiale (created through the merger of the state-owned Nord Aviation , Sud Aviation and SÉREB ) and the English Hawker Siddeley Aviation (later part of British Aerospace ). In 1967 the German Airbus GmbH was founded. One of the founding fathers of Airbus, the engineer and aviation pioneer Felix Kracht , became its managing director.

In 1969 Messerschmitt, Bölkow and the HFB merged to form Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB). Fokker merged with VFW to form VFW-Fokker. As a result, Deutsche Airbus GmbH only consisted of three shareholders: MBB (60%), Dornier (20%) and VFW-Fokker (20%). Dornier left Deutsche Airbus GmbH in 1970 because of the high equity requirements. MBB took over 5% and VFW-Fokker 15% of the Dornier shares.

On December 18, 1970, Airbus Industrie was founded in the corporate form of a groupement d'intérêts économiques (GIE = ​​Economic Interest Group) by the founding members of the French state Aérospatiale and by Deutsche Airbus GmbH. Henri Ziegler was the chairman of the board from 1970 to 1975 , and Felix Kracht was the first production director and technical director from 1970 to 1981. The chairman of the supervisory board was Franz Josef Strauss , who held this position until his death in 1988 and during this time he had a decisive influence on the group.

The Spanish CASA joined Airbus in 1971, British Aerospace followed in 1979. The importance Airbus already had in the early years was demonstrated by the involvement of British Aerospace: The company or its predecessor Hawker Siddeley Aviation worked as a subcontractor and wing manufacturer from the start own risk and without official participation of the British government, in Airbus with.

Airbus transport plane in Hamburg (Beluga)

In 1980 VFW-Fokker was dissolved again and MBB took over VFW. Deutsche Airbus GmbH was thus a wholly-owned subsidiary of MBB. Between 1989 and 1992, MBB was gradually taken over by Daimler-Benz and finally, including Deutsche Airbus GmbH, fully integrated into DASA , which operated under the new name of Deutsche Aerospace Airbus GmbH from January 1, 1992 (from 1995 Daimler-Benz Aerospace Airbus GmbH , from 1998 DaimlerChrysler Aerospace Airbus GmbH ). The German Airbus company still exists today: from 2000 under the name EADS Airbus GmbH , from 2014 under Airbus Deutschland GmbH and from 2017 under Airbus Operations GmbH as a subsidiary of EADS (now Airbus Group ) based in Hamburg .

Until EADS was founded in 2000, Aérospatiale and DASA each held 37.9% of Airbus GIE, British Aerospace 20% and CASA 4.2%.

Successful years

The rather loose alliance of the consortium companies (form of a working group "ARGE / GIE") changed in 2000 when - with the exception of British Aerospace  - all participants merged to form the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) based in the Netherlands. In 2001, Airbus GIE itself was transformed into an independent company under French law, Airbus SAS, with its headquarters in Toulouse-Blagnac. This company belonged to 80 percent of EADS and 20 percent of BAE Systems and therefore carried the additional title of EADS joint venture with BAE Systems .

In 2001, Airbus received more aircraft orders for the first time than its main competitor Boeing. Airbus thus became the world market leader in the industry and successfully defended this position in the years that followed. On September 9, 2005, Airbus was able to deliver the 4,000th aircraft, a modern A330-300 for Deutsche Lufthansa . At the end of 2005 it was announced that from 2008 it would also start manufacturing aircraft outside Europe. To this end, seven billion euros will be invested in Tianjin (China) by then to build a plant in which four A320s will initially be built each month .

In 2008 the company delivered 483 aircraft. Airbus was able to increase this number to 498 in 2009, with 402 of the A320, 86 of the A330 / A340 and 10 of the A380 being delivered. For 2009, Airbus recorded 310 gross orders (excluding cancellations) and 271 aircraft net. In 2009, Airbus recorded 3,488 aircraft in the order book, of which 2403 were aircraft of the A320 family.

Crisis and redevelopment


After the weak dollar led to a significant drop in sales at Airbus in the mid-1990s , the management decided on the “Dolores” (Dollar Low Rescue) restructuring program.

The corresponding economic report by the external consultancy with proposals to completely close entire locations became known ahead of time. The demand of the management was that 30% staff reductions, 30% cost savings, 30% increase in efficiency and 30 million DM reserves were to be created in order to be able to develop the new aircraft program "A3XX".

These demands were recognized as sensible by the works councils . However, the route planned by the management to achieve these goals was unsustainable for the employees and a concept of social balance was developed as a counter-strategy. A joint labor dispute was organized for all German locations with the demand that the existing skills be maintained at all locations and, if necessary, reduced jointly at all locations. This concept was referred to by the works councils as the "concept of connected vessels". Their assumption was based on the fact that the crisis in the aviation industry was only of a temporary nature and that, if things picked up again, all locations would be urgently needed. To this end, massive public campaigns were organized and carried out nationwide. With the help of local politicians and the federal government, it was possible to achieve all of the specified goals without a single dismissal for operational reasons . The necessary reduction in jobs and the increase in efficiency thus led to a considerable reduction in German jobs at Airbus, but the locations and their competencies were completely retained.

A380 crisis

In 2006 an apparently small initial problem developed into a group-wide crisis . A380 sections left the Hamburg plant with cables that were too short, which is why there was initially a delivery delay. However, the mistake led to tangible discussions; Toulouse accused Hamburg of faulty production, Hamburg accused Toulouse of having made incorrect specifications. The postponed delivery of the A380 resulted in losses in sales and profits and the share price of the parent company EADS collapsed temporarily. In 2006, Boeing also received around a fifth more orders.

Net orders for aircraft from Airbus and Boeing since 2001 .

The Airbus management initially announced planned cost savings in the billions. In autumn 2006, not only was the entire A380 production chain put to the test, the management was also accused of having only wanted reports of success for the A380 and ignored warnings for years. The need to succeed was also evident over the years from the increasing number of employees. In order to achieve greater planning security, however, a complete hiring freeze was imposed in September 2006 by the briefly incumbent Airbus boss Christian Streiff . The non-industry Christian Streiff then developed the first proposal for the Power8 restructuring program , but ultimately failed because of the encrusted structures at Airbus and the leadership claim of the EADS CEOs after the purchase of the Airbus share from BAE Systems. The problems in the production of the A380 also had a negative impact when the logistics group FedEx canceled its order for ten aircraft of the A380F freight version and instead bought a competing model. As a result, the development and market launch of the A380F was postponed for several years in order to be able to use the freed-up capacities for solving problems with the passenger version.

In 2006, BAE Systems sold its Airbus stake in EADS to expand its defense business in the United States. On September 6, 2006, EADS acquired the shares for EUR 2.75 billion. The additional title was then changed to Airbus to EADS Company .

Redevelopment plan Power8

In January 2007, the Airbus management, under the leadership of Louis Gallois, announced the implementation of the now modified Power8 savings program , which should compensate for the shortfall in revenue from the postponed A380 deliveries and secure the financing of the A350 program. The name was derived from the eight points that the management had identified to improve performance and costs.

In addition to factory sales, jobs should also be eliminated. After it became known that between 8,000 and 15,000 jobs were to be cut, the first unionized protest rallies took place in front of the German works on February 2, 2007, in which several thousand Airbus employees and politicians took part. The background was the fear that the planned job cuts would be unilaterally at the expense of the German locations. A declaration announced for February 20 about the specific plans of the Power8 was postponed indefinitely by Louis Gallois on February 19. The background here was the political interference in the Franco-German corporate conflict.

At the end of February 2007, the board of directors approved the Power8 restructuring plan : it was decided to cut up to a fifth of the 55,000 jobs and sell plants ( Zephyr project ) in Nordenham , Varel , Augsburg and Laupheim . Apart from Laupheim, Airbus parts should also be produced there after the sale. More than 1,000 jobs were to be lost at the Hamburg-Finkenwerder plant . Two plants in France and one in Great Britain were also to be sold. After the plans became known, the workers at the plant in Méaulte in the north of France spontaneously stopped their work.

Premium Aerotec GmbH

As a result of the Airbus crisis, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the French President Nicolas Sarkozy decided on July 16, 2007 to abolish the dual leadership at EADS at the end of 2007; the first sole CEO was Louis Gallois, while Thomas Enders took over the management of Airbus. In order to guarantee the balanced distribution of powers, the German Rüdiger Grube should chair the EADS Board of Directors.

One of the plans developed under Power8 was to sell three German production sites (in Varel, Einswarden and Augsburg), which dealt with the manufacture of individual parts, and to buy the parts produced there as supplier parts, but then advertised worldwide. It was hoped that this would result in a significant reduction in costs.

After a sale of the three German Airbus plants had failed, the Airbus Group announced on September 2, 2008 that it wanted to merge the outsourced locations into Premium Aerotec with around 5500 employees and headquarters in Augsburg. The management also outsourced parts of the production (single part production) of the Airbus site in Bremen to Premium Aerotec GmbH . This spin-off took place on January 1, 2010.

After 2010

In August 2013, the 8,000th was delivered to the Malaysian airline Air Asia with an Airbus A320 . Airplane delivered. On March 20, 2015. with an Airbus A321 for vietjet air 9,000. Aircraft delivery achieved. On October 14, 2016, the 10,000th Airplane, an A350-900 delivered for Singapore Airlines .

From 2007 to the end of 2016, Airbus more than doubled the number of orders from 2,533 to 6,874. For the period that followed, however, more deliveries than orders were foreseeable. In mid-October 2016, Airbus already delivered the 10,000. Plane off.

Since July 1, 2018, Airbus has held the majority in the partnership C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership , since 2019 Airbus Canada Limited Partnership , which produces the Airbus A220 .

Airbus received large orders from IndiGo Airlines , Emirates and Air Arabia in autumn 2019 with a volume of over 700 aircraft. The Airbus A320 series, which is twenty years younger than that, has replaced the Boeing 737 as the best-selling commercial jet of all time.

At the end of June 2020, Airbus announced the reduction of 15,000 jobs worldwide as a result of the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic . This affects more than 5000 positions in Germany , 5000 positions in France , 1700 in Great Britain , 900 in Spain and 1300 in other locations.


Factories and production facilities

Transport of the fuselage parts of an A380 on the Ville de Bordeaux , here on the Garonne near Bordeaux

Some of the individual Airbus locations have historical origins. The distribution of work is based on the national ownership shares held by Airbus, which are then again divided between France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom.

But new locations were also established. In exchange for large aircraft orders, jobs were also created in other countries. For example, as was in China, a joint venture with a local company, a final assembly line built (FAL = final assembly line) for the A320 family. The individual Airbus locations have specialized in certain areas, for example the final production of all wings takes place in Broughton . A quick closure of the British plants is therefore not to be expected after the sale of the 20 percent stake in BAE Systems to EADS.


Factory premises in Hamburg-Finkenwerder (eastern part)
Airbus plant Hamburg-Finkenwerder (western part seen from the Elbe)

The plant in the Finkenwerder district is on the site of Hamburger Flugzeugbau, founded in 1933 (founded specifically for the construction of seaplanes, as Finkenwerder is a peninsula ) and has its own factory airport . In order to build new production halls for the Airbus A380, part of the Mühlenberger Loch, which had previously been enlarged for the construction of seaplanes, was filled in again. The location was controversial. Critics complained that the area was poorly suited for expansion of the plant, was difficult to reach and was also not safe from storm surges (see storm surge 1962 ). The decision for the Finkenwerder peninsula was politically motivated. Airbus employed 7,628 people in Finkenwerder in 2000 and 11,449 in 2006, and in 2017 it had 12,500. The final assembly (FAL) for the A318 , A319 and A321 takes place in two production lines in Hamburg . Due to great demand, the A320 has also been finalized in a third production line in Hamburg since March 2008 . A fourth production line for the final assembly of the A320 family was opened in 2018. For the A380 , the section assembly of several fuselage sections as well as the cabin equipment and painting is carried out in Hamburg . There is a guided tour of the Hamburg Airbus site and selected factory halls with valid identification documents after prior notification and accompanied by factory security.

The “Airbus Material Support Center” (MSC) is located in Hamburg-Groß Borstel. It has around 450 employees and controls global spare parts logistics and supports customers with specialists and tools for maintenance and repair. A stock of spare parts of around 115,000 different parts for almost 2.5 million articles is available there. Another ten warehouses around the world, direct dispatch from the Airbus factories and sub-suppliers ensure fast supply at all times.


With 3000 employees, Bremen is the second largest Airbus location in Germany. The factory was originally founded on October 24, 1923 as Bremer Flugzeugbau AG. On January 1, 1924, it was renamed Focke-Wulf- Flugzeugbau AG. In 1961, Focke-Wulf-Flugzeugbau AG and Weser Flugzeugbau GmbH (Weserflug) merged to form the United Flight Technical Works (VFW). The plant is located directly at Bremen Airport and near the Weser . Bremen is traditionally a development and manufacturing location. Among other things, the flaps of the various aircraft are manufactured, tested and developed in the factory. In addition, strength tests and flow simulations are carried out. In addition, the wings for the A330 and A350 models will be equipped in Bremen.

The plant in Stade from the air

Another location is in Stade with over 2200 employees. At this location, the vertical stabilizers made of CFRP , small parts for the Eurofighter as well as the CFRP wings for the A400M and A350 XWB and the rear CFRP fuselage segments for the new A350 XWB are manufactured. The Airbus Composite Technology Center (CTC for short) is also located at the Stade site . As a lightweight construction technology center, it researches and develops efficient and industrial lightweight construction technologies, new materials as well as structures and holistic lightweight construction solutions in direct cooperation with the Airbus plant in Stade, but also across locations and sectors.


The Buxtehude site employs a total of 450 people on an area of ​​around 17,000 m². Buxtehude has specialized in the development and integration of the electronic cabin management system CIDS, further important components of the cabin and seat electronics are developed at the location. In 2010, Airbus Buxtehude received the “ Crystal Cabin Award ”, the most important distinction for aircraft cabins, for developing the “Digital Cabin Logbook” . A special feature of the location is the fact that in addition to Airbus, the 100 percent Airbus subsidiary KID-Systeme GmbH is also based there.


In the spare parts warehouse in Frankfurt am Main there are over 600 large components. B. are required for insurance damage.

German locations of the Airbus subsidiary Premium Aerotec

The following plants were outsourced and combined in the Premium Aerotec subsidiary .

  • Augsburg: Augsburg is the headquarters of Premium Aerotec. Around 4,000 employees specialize in partial production for large orders in European aviation.
  • Nordenham: Around 3000 employees work in Nordenham in large sheet metal production and shell construction.
  • Varel In Varel employs nearly 1,500 people in the production of aircraft components and in the manufacture of manufacturing and assembly facilities.
  • Bremen: Around 500 employees work in sheet metal and thermoplastic parts production at the Bremen site .
  • Hamburg: The smallest location is Hamburg , with its 150 employees.
Former Airbus factories in Germany

The following plants are no longer part of Airbus.

  • Rostock: At the Rostock location and its metropolitan area , several larger companies are active as suppliers with around a thousand employees, including the former Airbus company RST Rostock-System-Technik GmbH (sold to FERCHAU Engineering GmbH in 2015 ) with over 150 employees who at the Aerospace Center of the Warnemünde Technology Park, which opened in 2007 . The components manufactured there include simulators for training flight personnel, cable harnesses, devices and assembly systems, devices for automated functional testing, remote-controlled manipulators, specialized test infrastructure and gas sensor systems for safety applications.
  • Laupheim: The former Airbus plant in Laupheim was sold to Diehl Aerospace GmbH in October 2008 as part of the “Power8” savings program .



St. Martin factory premises
Airbus plant in Nantes

The largest Airbus location is in Toulouse . This concerns both the administrative headquarters (Central Entity) and several Airbus plants. The factory premises are essentially divided into St. Martin du Touch, Clement Ader and J. L. Lagardère . These are located directly around Toulouse-Blagnac Airport .

The final assembly of the A320 , A330 , A350 and A380 is carried out on several production lines in Toulouse, including the A300 and A310 until 2007 and the A340 until November 2011 .

Other locations in France: Nantes , Méaulte , Saint-Nazaire



The final assembly of the CN-235 , C-295 and A400M military transport aircraft from Airbus Defense and Space takes place in Seville (approx. 2000 employees) .

Other locations in Spain are Getafe , Illescas ( Toledo province ), Puerto Real .

United Kingdom

The wings are designed and manufactured in Great Britain . Locations are in Filton (with over 4500 employees in administration, development of wings, fuel systems and landing gear assemblies and other areas) and Broughton (with approx. 5000 employees with a focus on manufacturing and development of wings). In September 2008, part of the Filton plant was sold to the British aviation company GKN as part of the Power8 savings program .


Final assembly line of the A320 family in Tianjin (photo: 2008)

In addition to Toulouse and Hamburg, another final assembly line for aircraft of the A320 family was set up in Tianjin / China . Plans for further production provide for a step-by-step increase to six machines per month from 2020; corresponding preliminary contracts were concluded in January 2018.

United States

On September 14, 2015, Airbus opened its first plant in the USA ( Mobile (Alabama) ), where an Airbus development center has been located since 2007. According to Airbus CEO Fabrice Brégier , this means that the company will now become "the first truly global aircraft manufacturer and at the same time a truly American manufacturer". The plant will primarily produce A321s, but also the A320 and A319 and, since 2017, the A320 Neo, mainly for the North American market. The production facility has had 250 employees since it opened, and the plan is to increase to 1,000. Since minimum wages and labor costs are particularly low in Alabama, Airbus expects cost savings.

The first aircraft, an A321 from Jetblue Airways , left the assembly hall in February 2016 and was fully painted in March 2016. The delivery took place on April 25, 2016. In the course of the delivery, Airbus announced that it wanted to ramp up production to four aircraft per month by the end of 2017.


With the acquisition of the C-Series aircraft series from Bombardier Aerospace , Airbus has owned the plants in Canada since 2019.


To ensure fast response times and close contact with customers, Airbus maintains spare parts centers and customer offices around the world. There are development centers in Beijing / China , Moscow / Russia , Bangalore / India .

Employees and management

In Germany, around 16,000 employees were part of the Airbus core workforce in 2010. In addition, there were 4800 temporary workers , some of whom had been working for Airbus for seven to eight years, according to IG Metall. Another group of employees worked for the company with a work contract . The general works council chairman Johann Dahnken criticized this as a three- class society of employees.

Number of employees per location on December 31 of the year
Airbus plant or location country 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Broughton (GBR) 3,844 4,309 5,165 5,129 5,031 4,882 4,866 4,557 4,546
Filton (GBR) 4,269 4,379 4,303 4,562 4,642 4,409 4,195 2,894 2,815
United Kingdom total 8,113 8,688 9,468 9,691 9,673 9,291 9,061 7,451 7,361
Toulouse (FRA) 9,773 10,311 10,686 11,459 12,021 11,805 11,413 11,893 11,885
Blagnac Central Administration (FRA) 3,322 3,822 4,091 4,476 4,971 4,962 5,052 5,351 5,623
Saint-Nazaire (FRA) 2,245 2,227 2,271 2,321 2,387 2,308 2,217 2,278 2,392
Nantes (FRA) 1,863 1,869 1,903 1.952 1.996 1,959 1.911 1,857 1,849
Méaulte (FRA) 1,098 1,129 1,175 1,230 1,288 1,274 1,273 1,288 1,276
Sèvres and Rochefort (FRA) - - - - - - - 112 91
Total France 18.301 19,358 20,126 21,438 22,663 22.308 21,866 22,779 23,116
Hamburg (DEU) 8,777 9,459 9,746 10,616 11,447 11,476 11,314 11,355 11,575
Bremen (DEU) 2,966 3,051 3,072 3.115 3,330 3,371 3,244 3,199 3,239
augsburg (DEU) - - - - - - - 2,382 2,391
Nordenham (DEU) 2,096 2,106 2.122 2.112 2,086 2,072 2,053 2,036 2,027
Stade (DEU) 1,277 1,416 1,450 1,512 1,567 1,543 1,524 1,550 1,603
Varel (DEU) 1,168 1,172 1.166 1,168 1,191 1,146 1,130 1.102 1,062
Laupheim (DEU) 738 909 1,015 1,093 1,116 1,099 - - -
Dresden (DEU) - - - - - - - 966 935
Buxtehude (DEU) 283 310 335 352 362 343 343 337 338
Stuttgart and Ulm (DEU) - - - - - - - 18th 16
Total Germany 17.305 18,423 18,906 19,968 21,099 21,050 19,608 22,945 23,186
Getafe (ESP) 1.921 1,811 1.956 2,056 1,979 1,870 1,757 2,972 1,743
Madrid (ESP) - - - - - - - 2,257 2,351
Seville (ESP) - - - - - - - 835 1,974
Cadiz Puerto Real (ESP) 455 483 497 513 448 478 469 740 730
Illescas (ESP) - 432 471 494 505 444 496 490 480
Total Spain 2,376 2,726 2,924 3,063 2,932 2,792 2,722 7,294 7,278
Miami Springs (UNITED STATES) - - - - - - - 118 115
Herndon (UNITED STATES) - - - - - - - 105 104
Wichita (UNITED STATES) - - - - - - - 28 64
mobile (UNITED STATES) - - - - - - - 19th 42
Washington, DC and others (UNITED STATES) 314 325 374 398 422 400 456 283 298
United States total 314 325 374 398 422 400 456 553 623
Beijing (CHN) - - 135 136 150 169 174 675 904
Warsaw (POLE) - - - - - - - 485 485
Dublin (IRL) - - 26th 27 27 19th 19th 18th 16
Dubai (UAE) - - - - - - - 2 2
total 46,415 49,520 51,959 54,721 56,966 56,029 53.906 62.202 62,751

Some publications have different numbers of employees depending on how part-time employees are counted. Larger jumps in the total number result from added or sold locations. In 2008, there were no employees at the Laupheim plant. In 2009, 8,399 employees from EADS 'MTAD division , Elbe Flugzeugwerke and Premium Aerotec Augsburg were counted for the first time.

The large Airbus plant in Tianjin (China) and the Airbus development center in Bangalore are not included in the EADS personnel statistics. Tianjin is not an Airbus plant, but a joint venture ; Bangalore as a wholly owned Airbus subsidiary is missing from the company statistics.

Aircraft types

Civil aircraft


Airbus A220-300

The Airbus A220 was developed and manufactured by the Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier under the name Bombardier CSeries . After Airbus took over 50.01% of the shares from Bombardier on July 10, 2018, the aircraft type was renamed Airbus A220.

A300 / A310 family

Airbus' first development was the A300 , a wide-body aircraft for short and medium-haul flights, whose maiden flight took place in June 1972. The A300 was the only product from Airbus at the time and is still sometimes referred to as "the Airbus", which can lead to confusion, as there are now many Airbus products on the market.

A shorter version of the A300 called A310 and a slightly longer range made its maiden flight in 1982. The biggest innovation on this type was the new wing with transonic profile and a new two-man cockpit with partial screen technology, which was then also used in the A300-600 series. Production of the widebody series A300 / A310 was discontinued in July 2007, the last delivery was an A300F4-600R for FedEx on July 12, 2007. Airbus has delivered a total of 561 A300s and 255 A310s, a total of 816 aircraft of the A300 / 310 family .

A320 family

The Airbus A318 is the smallest member of the A320 family. Here is an
Air France A318

In the 1980s, the short-haul A320 with a small fuselage diameter (single aisle) was introduced. The A320 is primarily in competition with the Boeing 737 Next Generation.

The A320 was the world's first series-produced civil aircraft to be controlled via digital fly-by-wire . Control commands are no longer passed on to the control flaps mechanically by wire rope, but are transmitted electronically via a data bus. The Concorde used fly-by-wire as early as 1969, but this was an analog electrical transmission that was protected by a mechanical backup system.

In the years that followed, further derivatives of different sizes were developed from the A320: the A319 as a shorter variant and the A321 as a longer variant. The A318 was developed as the smallest member of the family, with a fuselage that is six meters shorter than the A320 and closes the last gap in the lower area of ​​the Airbus family. In return, the weight savings increased the range. Based on the A319, Airbus developed two further models, the Corporate Jetliner (ACJ) and the A319LR. Both aircraft have additional tanks and thus have a range of more than 8,000 kilometers. The youngest model of this VIP family is the A318 Elite, which is provided with VIP interior fittings, which can be done in the Lufthansa Technik shipyard in Hamburg. The A320 family is not to be replaced by a newly developed Airbus A320 successor until 2024 at the earliest, but probably not until the 2030s. For this reason, the neo (New Engine Option) versions of the A319, A320 and A321 with new engines for lower fuel consumption have followed since 2015 .

A330 / A340 family

In the 1990s, the types A330 (twin-engine) and A340 (four-engine) were introduced for intercontinental traffic. Both are also controlled via fly-by-wire and are designed for high economic efficiency. The A330 and A340 have the fuselage diameter of the A300 / A310. The two designs are very similar and were developed from the ground up in parallel to achieve maximum synergy effects . While the A340 was planned for ultra long-haul flights, the A330 is the more fuel-efficient variant with a shorter range due to its twin-engine design. The interior fittings (depending on the airline's needs) and the cockpit design are largely the same in both types. The A340-500 is the longest-range passenger aircraft after the Boeing 777-200LR . Up to 313 passengers can be carried in three-class seating.


Airbus A350 on its maiden flight on June 14, 2013

With the Airbus A350 (initially called A350 XWB), Airbus responded to the very successful long-haul Boeing 787 and Boeing 777 models with 210 to 365 seats. It is intended to replace the previous long-haul Airbus A330 and A340 models. The A350 was first delivered in 2014.

The originally planned and now discarded first version of the A350 should be developed as a derivative of the A330. At the Farnborough International Airshow in July 2006, Airbus announced that it would restart development of the A350 as the Airbus A350 XWB. The Airbus A350 XWB has a larger cabin cross-section than the previous design and has been completely redesigned. It should surpass the Boeing 787 in terms of its economy . The reason for the redesign is that Airbus was increasingly falling behind its competitor Boeing in sales of medium and long-haul aircraft and could not have compensated for this deficiency with the first draft of the A350. Several potential customer airlines for the A350 complained about their inadequate design. Airbus finally gave in to this pressure. The new development increased the development costs to 10 billion euros.


The development of the largest passenger aircraft in the world dates back to the 1980s when the first feasibility studies for a new large aircraft were carried out. It was not until the second half of the 1990s that a market situation arose that allowed development. The Airbus A380 (former name: A3XX) is a completely newly developed type of wide-body aircraft. In the standard version, around 550 passengers can be carried in a three-class configuration; in single-class seating, which is particularly aimed at the Asian market, even 853 passenger seats are possible. It is the world's first aircraft with a fuselage that offers two large cabins of different widths one above the other (two large cabins with two central aisles each, also known as twin aisle). The distinctive feature is the oval cross-section of this fuselage model. The A380 replaces the Boeing 747 (400 seats or a maximum of 568) as the largest passenger aircraft.

The first flight took place on April 27, 2005. The A380 with the production number MSN3 went into regular service on October 25, 2007 in the A380-800 version; the first operator was Singapore Airlines. On February 14, 2019, Airbus announced that it would cease production of the A380 by 2021 due to weaker demand.


Overview (as of May 9, 2020)
Aircraft type Orders Extraditions In flight service First delivery End of production
Airbus A220-100 94 40 40 July 2016 -
Airbus A220-300 548 73 73 November 2016 -
Airbus A300 561 561 235 1974-05 May 1974 2007-07 July 2007
Airbus A310 255 255 61 1985-12 December 1985 2007-07 July 2007
Airbus A318 80 80 63 2003-10 October 2003 2013
Airbus A319 1486 1479 1408 1996-04 April 1996 -
Airbus A319neo 84 2 2 August 2019 -
Airbus A320 4770 4750 4368 1988-03 March 1988 -
Airbus A320neo 3948 961 961 2016 January 2016 -
Airbus A321 1791 1757 1728 1994-01 January 1994 -
Airbus A321neo 3413 326 326 April 2017 -
Airbus A330-200 660 642 607 1998 April 1998 -
Airbus A330-200F 41 38 38 2010-09 September 2010 -
Airbus A330-300 785 771 747 1993-12 December 1993 -
Airbus A330-800 14th 0 0 2018 ? -
Airbus A330-900 319 46 46 2017 from 2018 -
Airbus A340-200 / 300 246 246 127 1993-01 January 1993 2011-11 November 2011
Airbus A340-500 / 600 131 131 107 2002-07 July 2002 2011-11 November 2011
Airbus A350-900 760 321 322 2014-12 December 2014 -
Airbus A350-1000 170 41 41 2018 February 2018 -
Airbus A380 251 242 240 2007-10 October 2007 2011-11 2021
total 20407 12762 11540

The exact designation of an aircraft varies in the last two digits. In contrast to Boeing , however, no customer codes are used, but the engine manufacturer and the model or expansion stage are coded. For example, the A340-642X means that it is an A340-600 with a higher gross vehicle weight (X) and a Rolls-Royce engine that tends to be somewhat older (number 2) (number 4).

The age or model of an engine is usually expressed using the digits 0 to 7, but not consistently across all models for which the following applies:

The types will receive a provisional aircraft registration number until delivery . This is for all wide-body aircraft and those A320s that were built in France, F-WWxx , for the A318 D-AUxx and for all other types D-AVxx . xx stands for an individual aircraft, although these codes are used multiple times, e.g. T. dozen of times.


Airbus civil airliner timeline
Type 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 2020s
route hull drive 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9
short / medium Narrow twin-jet A220
medium Large area twin-jet A300
medium / long Large area twin-jet A310
short / medium Narrow twin-jet A318
medium Narrow twin-jet A319
short / medium Narrow twin-jet A320
medium Narrow twin-jet A321
medium / long Large area twin-jet A330
long Large area four-beam A340
long Large area twin-jet A350
long Open plan,
two decks
four-beam A380 ²

² End of production planned

Military aircraft

Airbus A310-300 MRT / MRTT

Airbus Military logo
Airbus A310 MRT

The Airbus A310-300 MRT ( M ulti R ole T ransport) is a flexible type of military aircraft. A total of seven copies were built, four of which went to the German Air Force. Former Lufthansa A310s were converted by EADS Elbe Flugzeugwerke in Dresden and Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg. The first flight of an MRT took place on March 25, 1999.

A further development of the A310 MRT, the A310-300 MRTT ( M Ultimatum R ole T ransport T anchor). This also has two air refueling pods and five additional fuel tanks.

Airbus A330 MRTT

Airbus A330 MRTT of the United Arab Emirates

The Airbus A330 MRTT is a "Multi Role Tanker Transport" aircraft, ie a tanker aircraft with the additional ability to transport people, freight and hospital. Similar to its smaller sister A310-300 MRTT, the wings have been expanded to include two air refueling pods. Especially for the US Air Force, a similar aircraft was developed under the name KC-45A together with Northrop Grumman , which competed in a tender against the KC-767 and was supposed to replace the outdated Boeing KC-135 . In addition to the air refueling pods, this should have a hose extension below the fuselage. In February 2008, the design, now known as the KC-45A, was awarded the contract before the Boeing KC-767. In summer 2008, however, the order was withdrawn and a new invitation to tender was issued. In March 2010, Northrop Grumman withdrew from the process, whereupon EADS independently offered the KC-45, but was defeated by the Boeing KC-46 in February 2011. The main argument for the A330 MRTT is its enormous capacity. Even without additional tanks, the aircraft can hold 111 tons of fuel. 65 tons of it are delivered in the aerial refueling roll during a two-hour mission - this corresponds to a distance of about 2000 kilometers. This is around 50 percent more than with comparable aircraft types. The A330 MRTT can therefore approach much more distant areas of operation and refuel aircraft there. Because no additional fuel tanks are required, the entire cargo space is available, which means that LD3 or LD6 containers or military pallets can also be accommodated. In January 2004, the UK Department of Defense decided in favor of the A330 MRTT as part of a £ 13 billion program for future strategic in-flight refueling. In March 2008 the contract for 14 aircraft was signed. On June 1, 2011, the Australian Air Force took over the first of five machines with the Australian type designation "KC-30A MRTT". The first of six aircraft ordered for the Royal Saudi Air Force should be delivered in 2011; in fact, this could only be done in June 2013. The United Arab Emirates Air Force received the first of three aircraft ordered in the third quarter of 2013.

Airbus A400M

The Airbus A400M in flight.

The Airbus A400M is a military transport aircraft being developed by Airbus Military to replace the aging fleet of transport aircraft in various European air forces, including the German Transall . It is equipped with four turboprop engines and, compared to its predecessors, distinguishes itself through its higher payload, range and refueling capability; He is also able to deliver fuel to other aircraft (in-flight refueling ). The rollout of the first machine took place in June 2008, the first flight on December 11, 2009. The first delivery took place in September 2013.

CASA transport aircraft

With the incorporation of Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA (CASA) into the EADS Group in 1999, the company belonged to what was then the Military Transport Aircraft Division (MTAD). Today the military aircraft division based in Madrid, Spain is called Airbus Military . The product range includes the aircraft types CASA C-212 , CASA CN-235 and CASA C-295 . This makes Airbus one of the largest providers of smaller military transport and multi-purpose aircraft today.


As of November 2016
Type Aircraft type Orders Extraditions In flight service 1. Delivery End of production
Airbus A310-300 MRT / MRTT mil. multipurpose aircraft refueling aircraft 6 (MRI only) 6th 6th March 25, 1999 (first flight conversion) March 1998 (new buildings)
Airbus A330 MRTT Refueling plane 51 28 28 June 15, 2007 (first flight)
Airbus A400M military transport aircraft 174 34 34 1 August 2013
CASA C-212 military transport aircraft 483 478 218 May 1974 December 2012
CASA CN-235 military transport aircraft 283 279 234 March 1, 1988
CASA C-295 military transport aircraft 169 156 154 October 2001


Cockpit of an Airbus A319

A property that Airbus aircraft takes off from the competition is, the so-called commonality (common) between the types. The components and groups for the different types are as identical as possible, which offers advantages

  • for airline logistics (small number of spare parts for a mixed fleet),
  • for maintenance (a mechanic can service many types) and
  • for operation (the pilots can be used flexibly on several types).

The cockpits within the A320 family are identical and very similar to those of the following types (A330 etc.). Pilots can quickly retrain to other types , for example from A320 to A330 or A340 in eight days (instead of 25 for a full type rating ). You can retrain from A330 to A340 within three days, and vice versa it only takes one day.

The older types A300 and A310, however, have cockpits based on conventional technology with normal control horns instead of sidesticks . They therefore have no cockpit commonality with the later types. Therefore, when retraining to the glass cockpits of the A320 – A380, considerably more training is required.


Model of the Airbus "Quadcruiser" at CeBit 2016
Model of a blended wing body similar to the "Maveric"

In 2013, Airbus, in cooperation with SFL-GmbH, developed a quadrocopter with five rotors and a take-off weight of 12 kg and one hour of flight time, in order to participate in research into unmanned aviation systems. In January 2018, Vahana had its maiden flight, an eight-engine, electrically powered vertical take-off, tilt-wing , convertible aircraft that steers itself.

Airbus is also working on supersonic aircraft and in April 2015 applied for a patent for a hybrid aircraft with jet and rocket propulsion .

At the ILA 2016 in Berlin, the Thor aircraft was presented, which was produced entirely with a 3D printer except for the motors, landing gear, propellers and controls .

According to the Airbus management, the hard Brexit is “economically irresponsible”; “If we had to pay customs duties or if our people were only able to use them spatially, that would severely impair our competitiveness ,” said Airbus boss Enders.

At the air show in Singapore in February 2020, Airbus presented the “Maveric” concept, in which the shape deviates from previous model series and is reminiscent of a ray.

See also


  • Heinrich Großbongardt: 50 years of Airbus. How it all began ... In: AERO International. No. 6/2019, pp. 82-85.
  • Ulrich Kirchner: History of German commercial aircraft construction: The long way to the Airbus . Campus, Frankfurt am Main 1998, ISBN 3-593-36140-X .
  • Karl Morgenstern, Dietmar Plath : Airbus. History - company - aircraft types. 2nd Edition. Motorbuch, Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 978-3-613-02566-0 .
  • Gerald Braunberger: Airbus versus Boeing. Economic war of the giants. Frankfurter Allgemeine Buch, Frankfurt am Main 2006, ISBN 978-3-89981-116-2 .
  • John Newhouse: Boeing versus Airbus. Knopf, New York 2007, ISBN 978-1-4000-4336-1 .
  • Achim Figgen, Dietmar Plath: The large Airbus type book . GeraMond Verlag, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-86245-305-4 .

Web links

Commons : Airbus  album with pictures, videos and audio files
 Wikinews: Airbus  - in the news
Wiktionary: Airbus  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

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