Today’s naming of the newly-inaugurated A350 XWB Final Assembly Line after Roger Béteille has brought special recognition to one of the Airbus founders and a visionary whose decisions were key to the company’s original successes.
He was a driving force behind the cornerstone airliner that brought Airbus into the commercial aircraft sector in the 1970s: its A300. Béteille was responsible for dimensioning the fuselage diameter at 222 inches, resulting in a pioneering mid-sized twin-engine jetliner with widebody comfort, and whose under-floor cargo compartments accommodated the industry-standard LD-3 containers used on other manufacturers’ widebody tri-jets and four-engine jumbo jets.
The same 222-inch diameter subsequently was applied to Airbus’ A310, A330 and A340, creating a widebody series that attracted a worldwide customer base with more than 2,400 aircraft sold to date, and setting the stage for its next-generation extra widebody A350 XWB.
Béteille also was influential in the development of fly-by-wire controls, which Airbus introduced to the commercial airliner market with its A320, and has included in every product since then – a technology that now is widely employed throughout the industry. Additionally, he pushed for a philosophy of product line development based on a family of aircraft, which previously had not been the strategy of Europe’s aerospace industry.
Management positions held by Béteille at the predecessor Airbus Industrie organisation included Senior Vice President – Engineering from 1970; General Manager from 1975 to early 1985, and President from 1985 until his retirement. Prior to Airbus Industrie’s formal creation in 1970, he was the A300 Chief Engineer at France’s Sud Aviation.
In comments made at today’s A350 XWB Final Assembly Line inauguration ceremony, Béteille placed the spotlight back on Airbus employees, thanking them for continuing his work in bringing the company to the leadership position it holds today.
“You were able to reach the target which, in my youth, was totally impossible to even dream of,” Béteille said. “By working hard together, hand-in-hand…you reached this incredible target of establishing Europe as the largest and best airliner manufacturer in the world, and I thank you for that.”
• For additional information, visit the dedicated website for the A350 XWB Final Assembly Line inauguration.