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Airbus: 50 years of aviation history

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At first, Airbus was laughed at, and no one believed in the success of the European project. However, in 50 years Airbus planes have literally conquered the sky.

Airbus: 50 years of aviation history

It was a new milestone in the history of European industry when a new aircraft manufacturer was born 50 years ago in Germany and France. In the United States, the baby was then laughed at, but it got on its feet and turned into a successful model.

Airbus - together with the American concern Boeing - is the largest manufacturer of large passenger aircraft in the world. And now, when the American giant is in crisis due to the ban on the use of 737 MAX aircraft, Airbus in its anniversary year may become the world's largest aircraft manufacturer.

Is the plane like a bus?

It all started back in 1965, when the German concerns Messerschmitt, Bölkow, Dornier-Werke, Hamburger Flugzeugbau and Vereinigten Flugtechnischen Werke founded the Airbus working group to develop aircraft rivals American manufacturers Boeing and McDonnell Douglas.

The very name Airbus made a lot of people smile at that time. However, the Germans took the bus model as a basis: simultaneously embarking and disembarking, low prices, quick delivery. True, over time, almost nothing of the above was implemented - the development of airports and infrastructure for such aircraft would cost billions.

French German

The date of the merger with the French Aérospatiale is considered the real birthday of Airbus. On May 29, 1969, the German Minister of Economics Karl Schiller and the French Minister of Transport Jean Chaman signed a treaty that fully corresponded to the idea of ​​European unification. The British withdrew from it shortly before launch.

Subsequently, the Spaniards joined the project. The work could begin. The main office was located in the city of Toulouse in the south of France. The first production director of the company was the German Felix Kracht.

Breakthrough thanks to the Americans

In the south of France, painstaking work on the creation of the A300, a large passenger aircraft for long and medium flights, is in full swing. Today it is a testament to the internationalization of the aviation industry, and then Der Spiegel called the plane "a fat man for the province".

At that time, the aircraft with 250-300 passenger seats practically did not find buyers - although the American competitor Boeing did not offer anything of the kind in this segment.

German politician Franz Josef Strauß, who has been Chairman of the Airbus Supervisory Board since 1970, advertised the new aircraft during his visits. The breakthrough came when a large order for a European concern was made ... by the Americans.

The British are back in the project

In 1979, the British did join the Airbus concern - and now the production of the wings is carried out in the UK. Over time, Airbus managed to implement technical innovations that were considered dubious in the beginning. We are talking, for example, about the fly-by-wire technique, that is, the fly-by-wire control system for passenger aircraft, which is now standard for cockpits.

Aerospace, military and civilian

In 2000, Germany, France and Spain merged most of their production in the fields of civil and military aircraft and space. And then the largest aerospace and defense concern Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) emerged in Europe. EADS, however, failed to become a leading brand, the concern was radically restructured and, in the end, named after a powerful subsidiary: Airbus.

In Germany, Airbus has its second largest plant in the world - more than 13,000 employees work in Hamburg. They produce, for example, the fuselage and equip the cockpits for the A380. More than half of all aircraft in the A320 family are also manufactured in northern Germany. In Hamburg, as in Toulouse, the Concern's anniversary celebrations take place on May 29, 2019.

In general, Airbus in Germany is one of the largest employers. More than 46,000 people work here at 27 locations. And while Boeing, the American competitor of the European aircraft manufacturer, celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016, in the early 2000s Airbus managed to collect more orders for the first time than the US companies. And in 2018, having delivered 800 aircraft to customers, Airbus almost caught up with the Americans - Boeing delivered 806 ships to customers.

Is the giant plane a giant dip?

This growth, however, has not been helped much by the giant A380s. Double-decker planes, which in the early 2000s moved Jumbo from Boeing as the largest aircraft in the world, played a cruel joke with Airbus: despite the critically low level of orders, in February this year the concern announced the suspension of their production in 2021.

The A320 family aircraft developed in the 1980s became a real hit of sales. The new A320neo with a more powerful and more fuel efficient engine puts an end to the dominance of the Boeing 737 in the mainstream segment with orders for years to come.

The competitor was wrong

Boeing tried to get ahead again along the modernization path with

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