Airbus: 50 years of an industry giant

Toulouse, France - On May 29, 1969, during the Paris Air Show, the aviation world witnessed a new cooperation agreement between France and Germany for the development of a new European commercial jet.

50 years later, Airbus has become a symbol of industrial success in the world by becoming a giant in the aerospace industry, which employs more than 133,000 people worldwide.

The manufacturer has recently marked a notable milestone with the delivery of 12,000th aircraft.

Airbus: 12,000th aircraft is an A220-100

To celebrate this event, the company was planning a flight in formation today over Toulouse with the attendance of all its current models, but it was canceled due to bad weather. Airplanes carried out solo flights instead.

An aerobatic team from the French Air Force carried out a demostration for the spectators.

Back in the 1960s, some projects already existed for several years such as Caravelle or Concorde to respond to the American hegemony in the industry.

But these projects did not result in commercial successes.

Henri Ziegler at Sud-Aviation and Roger Béteille, the technical director of Sud-Aviation changed the course of things. The two men found a cheaper solution with a 250-seat aircraft equipped with American engines. The British were angry by the rejection of the proposed Rolls-Royce engines for the project and they left the ship.


French and Germans signed the project on May 29 with a 50-50 deal.

The first outcome of this deal was the Airbus A300B, but it was far from a commercial success. Less than twenty planes were sold between 1971 and 1976.

Airbus A300B

Airbus then introduced the A310, but the company had to wait for the arrival of the A320 in 1981 to really take off the business. The plane was a major technological breakthrough with its electrical flight controls. More than 13,300 aircraft were sold.

Airbus A310

From 2005, Airbus targeted the market with a very large carrier program, the Airbus A380, but it ended up as a commercial fiasco. Earlier this year, Airbus announced that it stopped the A380 program due to lack of demand.

Today, the company brings together more than 140 nationalities with production and research facilities around the world, including final assembly lines in China and the US.