In line with its philosophy of global cooperation, Airbus relies on a network of regional facilities for design and engineering activities across the company’s full family of modern aircraft. This high-tech work is divided across design offices and engineering centres located throughout Europe and North America, along with additional sites in India and China.
The design office at Airbus’ headquarters in Toulouse, France gathers such top-level competencies as architecture integration, general design, structural design and computation, integration tests and systems, and propulsion.
Five additional Airbus design offices and engineering centres are located throughout Europe, with sites operating in Spain, the UK, Russia and Germany – the latter of which includes two facilities in Hamburg and Bremen.
Airbus’ Filton, UK location focuses on design, engineering and support for Airbus wings, fuel systems and landing gear integration, with additional teams working on systems, structures and aerodynamics projects. In Spain, the company’s Getafe facility handles composites design, development and manufacture, as well as the design and manufacturing of tooling.
The Engineering Centre Airbus Russia (ECAR) is a joint venture facility with the Russian industrial group Kaskol. ECAR design teams support Airbus engineers in Hamburg and Toulouse, focusing primarily on fuselage structure, stress and systems installation, as well as the design of cabin interiors and freight compartments. This centre employs some 200 engineers who have completed large-scale projects for the A320, A330/A340, A380 and A350 XWB.
Airbus’ first North American design and engineering facility was opened in Wichita, Kansas during 2002. Beginning with an initial staff of 40 people, this location – which is involved in wing design for the A380 and other long-range Airbus aircraft – employs approximately 300 highly-skilled engineers.
The location was expanded in 2010 with a second engineering centre to focus on wing work for Airbus aircraft, as well as to house a team of in-service repair engineers specializing in critical support for customers around the world.
Southeast of Wichita in the U.S. is the Airbus Americas Engineering facility in Mobile, Alabama, which is responsible for various interior elements of Airbus’ A350XWB, A380 and A330-200 widebody jetliners. This work includes design and engineering for the passenger cabin, crew rest area, lavatories and galleys.
As part of its pledge to support the development of India’s aviation sector, Airbus in 2007 opened its Bangalore engineering centre, which cooperates closely with the company’s other engineering sites around the world, as well as with the country’s growing aerospace industry.
As part of Airbus’ fully-owned Airbus India subsidiary, the Airbus Engineering Centre India Pvt. Ltd. (AECI) focuses on the development of advanced capabilities in the areas of modelling and simulation, covering such areas as flight management systems, computational fluid dynamics (CFD), as well as digital simulation and visualization.
The Bangalore facility’s cooperation with other Airbus sites include the development of a simulated A380 flight management system that allows system engineers to provide mature specifications for suppliers of flight management systems, which are key elements in such modern jetliners as Airbus’ A380, A350 XWB, and A320neo jetliners.
Inauguration of the Airbus (Beijing) Engineering Centre (ABEC) in 2005 marked a new phase in the decades-long industrial partnership between China and Airbus, with the goal of making China a full risk-sharing partner of up to a 5 per cent airframe work share on a new-generation Airbus aircraft. This strategy has since been applied to the A350 XWB, which entered commercial service in January 2015.
The Beijing-based facility is a joint venture between Airbus and China’s two largest aviation companies – China Aviation Industry Corporation I (AVICI) and China Aviation Industry Corporation II (AVICII), and its core activities centre on specific design packages for new aircraft programmes.