TOULOUSE – The European aircraft manufacturer Airbus celebrated its 50th anniversary last Wednesday. In honor of this special celebration, a formation flight was conducted over Airbus’ home base in Toulouse, France. The A220, A319neo, A330neo, A350-1000, A380 and Beluga XL participated in the special formation flight. They were escorted by the Patrouille de France aerobatic team.
Airbus was established on May 29, 1969. The first French-German partnership was signed at the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget in France. The establishment of Airbus also led to the launch of the A300 program. The first A300 flew for the first time in 1972.
With the A300 widebody aircraft and the slightly smaller A310 from the early 80s, Airbus was able to win the necessary orders and steal market share from both Boeing and McDonnell Douglas. The great success however started in the late 80s with the introduction of the A320, intended for short to medium distances. Airbus sold thousands of aircraft of the A320 family, which consists of the A319, A320 and A321.
In the early 90s, Airbus entered the market for long-haul aircraft for the first time with the two-engined A330 and the 4-engined A340. The A330 in particular was a great success. It was a serious competitor for the B777 in the last decades and it will remain a competitor for years to come with the brand new A330 NEO.
The A380 – the largest passenger aircraft ever – at first was going to be a huge success and a serious competitor for the very succesful B747, but in the last decade it would become clear that there was a changing demand for more fuel efficient passenger aircraft with 2 engines. As a result, the A380 – but also the B747 – was doomed and the production of the A380 Super Jumbo will stop in 2021. In 2021 there will be a total production of 251 A380 aircraft.
With the A350 XWB – which is offered in 3 versions – Airbus again has a strong asset in the long-haul market. The passenger aircraft is a serious competitor of Boeing’s – also successful – B777 and B787.
(Top image: from Airbus video on YouTube)