A true team effort: Global supply chain supports Airbus’ complete family of aircraft

With a growing presence around the world, Airbus highlighted a range of its activities and emphasized the “team” that contributes to the company’s entire product line at its annual supplier conference.

28 October 2013 Feature story

Airbus welcomed 300 representatives of 190 main suppliers to this event near Washington, D.C., underscoring its partnership with a global sourcing network as the company prepares for the upcoming service entries of its latest aircraft – the A350 XWB and A320neo (new engine option) jetliners – while continuously innovating throughout is product line. 

“We want a trusting and long-term relationship with our supply chain partners. With their support we will improve our competitive edge, performance and market share,” Airbus President and Chief Executive Officer Fabrice Brégier said at the conference. “Together we will secure our future.”

In addition to Brégier’s update on the current state of Airbus, Executive Vice President Airbus Procurement and EADS Corporate Sourcing Klaus Richter briefed attendees about the company’s supply chain activities. This includes important future production rate increases for the A350 XWB – as the new widebody jetliner is scheduled to enter service next year – and the upcoming transition to the new engine option aircraft for Airbus’ single-aisle family. 

Richter also stressed the importance of Airbus’ sourcing network as the company continually upgrades and improves its entire product line of modern, efficient aircraft over the next decade. 

“We are in a long-term marriage with many of our suppliers and we typically work on everything together,” Richter said. “Our partners are very strong technology companies that comprise the most innovative supplier portfolio in the aerospace industry.”

For a full perspective of Airbus activities John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer – Customers; Tom Williams, Executive Vice President Programmes; Barry Eccleston, President & CEO, Airbus Americas, Inc.; Ulrich Weber, Airbus’ Final Assembly Line USA Vice President; and Axel Krein, Head of Research and Technology, also provided insight on their respective areas. 

Meanwhile, Dave Barger, President and CEO of U.S.-based airline JetBlue, represented Airbus’ customers at the event. “Every bit of this relationship with Airbus and its suppliers is important for us to thrive,” he said.  

The event’s location highlighted Airbus’ major partnership with the U.S. aerospace industry – which accounts for more than 40 percent of its procurement spending – and  the company’s new A320 Family final assembly line in Mobile, Alabama that is scheduled to commence aircraft assembly in 2015. 

As a result of this increasing presence in the U.S., Airbus’ positive economic contributions will support commercial activity and growth throughout the world. Richter said Airbus – and its suppliers – benefit from this global network.

“While we continue to expand in Europe and the U.S., the emerging markets also are growing rapidly,” he explained. “It’s a global sourcing network and everyone wins.”