Airbus in France
As one of its home countries, Airbus’ operations in France play a key role the design, manufacture and support of the world’s best aircraft.
Airbus’ French presence is helping shaping the future of air transportation, helping the company develop pioneering technical solutions and supporting its efficient sourcing and manufacturing processes. The country is home to final assembly lines for all Airbus commercial aircraft families, its corporate headquarters and major manufacturing facilities.
In total some 26,000 Airbus employees work in France – based at sites in the Toulouse, Nantes and Saint-Nazaire areas.
Toulouse: A key hub for Airbus
Airbus employs more than 21,000 people – around one-third of its total workforce – at its sites in the Toulouse area of France. Airbus SAS, located in Blagnac, hosts the company’s headquarters, as well as all central functions – including customer support and services, marketing and customer affairs.
Among Airbus’ several industrial sites in Toulouse are the final assembly lines for all of its modern, market leading jetliner families. This includes one of three global locations where the best-selling A320 Family aircraft are built, along with production sites for the A330 long-range family, the 21st century flagship A380 and all-new A350 XWB jetliner.
In addition, Airbus operates the Airbus Training Centre in Toulouse, which features eight full-flight simulators for all aircraft types, and provides training for flight crews, maintenance staff and cabin attendants, as well as performance and operational staff. This facility also includes a series of fixed-base simulators and PC-based system trainers, as well as offering cabin emergency and evacuation/door trainers.
Also situated in the Toulouse region is the Henri Ziegler Delivery Centre where customers receive their aircraft for fly-away; Airbus’ Saint-Eloi factory, which manufactures pylons for all aircraft families; the hangar for Airbus’ Beluga transport aircraft; and Lycée Airbus, a professional company school that trains over 300 young people each year for work in the aeronautical industry.
Nantes: contributing to all Airbus aircraft
Airbus’ plant in Nantes covers some 92 hectares and employs approximately 2,400 people, manufacturing components for all Airbus aircraft, while also being home to three centres of expertise.
Parts manufactured at Airbus Nantes include radomes – the extreme front tip of the aircraft that protect antennas installed in the nose – and centre wing boxes for all Airbus commercial jetliners as well as the A400M military airlifter; air inlets on the A350 XWB and A380 engines, the A320neo’s (new engine option) CFM International LEAP-1A powerplant and soon for the A330neo engines. Other manufacturing activity in Nantes includes A380 and A330 Family ailerons; as well as the A350 XWB airliner’s belly fairing.
Airbus’ three centres of expertise at the site focus on mechanical machining for vital, large-sized light alloy structural parts of complex shapes and large dimensions; composite structural parts manufactured by manual or automated lay-up, then cured in autoclaves before passing through various finishing and inspection operations; and a research and technology center for the implementation of composite materials through the Technocampus Research Centre and the Jules Verne Institute for Research and Technology.
Saint-Nazaire: an international logistical centre
With approximately 2,600 employees working at the 75-hectacre site, the Airbus plant in Saint-Nazaire is dedicated to assembly, equipment and testing of front and centre fuselage sections for the entire Airbus family.
Sub-assemblies come from the Airbus site in Nantes and from French, European and worldwide partners – including in Canada, Australia, Japan, Italy and the U.S. – making the Saint-Nazaire site a true international logistical platform. After being assembled, the fuselage elements are equipped with major systems such as hydraulic, fuel and electric, before being tested.
The equipped fuselage sections are then transported by Airbus’ Beluga cargo aircraft – or by sea in the case of the A380 components – to various final assembly line locations: Toulouse for A320/A330/A350/A380 jetliners; Hamburg, Germany for A318/319/321 single-aisle aircraft; and Seville, Spain for Airbus Defence and Space’s A400M military airlifter.