Airbus, or Airbus Group SE, is a European multinational aerospace corporation that designs, manufacturers, and sells civil and military-grade aerospace products across the globe. In 2019, Airbus boasted recognition for being the world’s largest airliner manufacturer. The company is divided into three sectors: Commercial Aircraft (Airbus S.A.S), Defence and Space, and Helicopters. The helicopter division serves as the largest in its industry in regdards to revenue and turbine helicopter deliveries.
The company’s main civil airplane business is conducted through the French company Airbus S.A.S., which is based out of Blagnac, France. While manufacturing facilities are mostly located in the European Union, the United Kingdom, China, the United States, and Canada, final assembly production takes place in France, Germany, Spain, China, the United States, and Canada. Meanwhile, Airbus’s registered headquarters are situated in Leiden, Netherlands, with a head office in Toulouse, France.
The “SE” in the corporate name denotes that it is a “societas Europaea,” which allows Airbus to be registered as European rather than as a national corporation. Moreover, its shares are traded in France, Germany, and Spain, and the company is spearheaded by CEO Guillaume Faury and maintains a spot in the Euro Stoxx 50 stock market index.
Airbus has several final assembly lines for different models and markets. Their Toulouse location handles the A320 family, the A330 family, the A350 family, and A380 family of commercial airliners. In 2013, the company’s series of commercial aircraft accounted for 66% of their total revenue. Their assembly line in Hamburg, Germany is responsible for the A318, A319, A320, and A321 models. The A400M, which is a turboprop-powered tactical transport aircraft, is only found in their assembly facilities in Seville, Spain. Lastly, wing construction in particular is handled in Broughton, Wales.
Airbus, however, has numerous other plants in several European locations, reflecting its foundation as a consortium. To move aircraft parts between different factory locations and assembly plants, the Airbus Beluga, a modified cargo aircraft capable of carrying entire fuselage sections, is used. The success of Airbus Beluga inspired Boeing to adopt a similar solution with four 747-400s to transport the components of the 787. It is important to note that the Beluga cannot carry the fuselage and wing sections of the A380. To resolve this, large A380 parts are brought by ship to Bordeaux, and then transported to the Toulouse assembly plant through the Itinéraire à Grand Gabarit, an enlarged waterway and road route.
In 2009, Airbus opened an assembly plant in Tianjin, China for its A320 series airliners. By July of the same year, Airbus embarked on a $350 million construction project for a manufacturing plant in Harbin, China, which was set to employ about 1,000 people. Their facilities in North America are an equally important region to Airbus in terms of both aircraft sales and suppliers. A little less than half of Airbus’s airliners are ordered by North American consumers. According to Airbus, US contractors accounted for nearly 120,000 jobs, earning the corporation about $5.5 billion worth of business in 2003.
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