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With a 50-year track record of innovation, technological firsts and industry milestones, Airbus has lived up to its official motto, “We Make It Fly,” from the company’s creation.

Today, Airbus is a leader in designing, manufacturing and delivering aerospace products, services and solutions to a customer base that spans the globe – with operations for commercial aircraft, helicopters, defence and space.

Take a journey through some of the highlights of our company from the past 50 years, and learn more about Airbus’ continuing success story with the extensive 'History In Depth' pages below.

Airbus History Decades 60s

1960s historic highlights

1965

The SA330 Puma performed its first flight

This medium-weight twin-engine was the first of a long series that has been built in various versions down to the present day. Read more >

Historical photo of the SA330 Puma helicopter’s first flight in 1965.

1968

First flight of the Gazelle SA341

It is the first helicopter equipped with an encased tail rotor, known as a Fenestron. Read more >

The first helicopter equipped with a Fenestron shrouded tail rotor, the Gazelle SA341, is shown during its maiden flight in 1968.

1969

The Franco-British supersonic airliner Concorde takes off on its 1st flight in Toulouse

Commercial aviation took a supersonic leap into the future with Concorde’s maiden flight, which was captained by André Turcat. Read more >

The flight crew for the Concorde’s supersonic airliner’s maiden flight mark the occasion with a group photo.

1969

29th May 1969: Official launch of the Airbus A300 Programme

The A300 programme was launched with a milestone agreement signed by French Transport Minister Jean Chamant and German Economics Minister Karl Schiller at the 1969 Paris Airshow, to build a commercial aircraft that was smaller, lighter and more economical than its three-engine American rivals. Read more >

The milestone agreement that launched Airbus’ A300 programme is signed at the 1969 Paris Air Show.

1969

Creation of MBB

In 1969, MBB (Messerschmitt – Bölkow – Blohm) was created by merging three companies. The group Messerschmitt – Bölkow, already in existance since the year before, and Hamburger Flugzeugbau GmbH, the aviation division of Blohm und Voss.


Trailblazing pioneers

Photo of one of Airbus’ “founding fathers,” Roger Béteille.
Roger Béteille, technical director of the A300 programme.

Roger Béteille was a key figure at Airbus from 1967 to 1985 – and a driving force behind the A300 programme, serving initially as a Technical and Coordinating Manager, and becoming Managing Director in 1975. A large part of the company’s initial success can be traced back to Béteille: a believer in European cooperation, he joined Airbus still in its “preliminary” stage. Béteille’s first proposal of work-sharing (to have aircraft parts such as elements of the fuselage, the wing root and the wings produced by different entities) is still in place today. Béteille’s involvement in the A300 programme ensured the aircraft would match the needs of airline customers, and not just manufacturers’ ideas. Béteille retired from the company in 1985; the final assembly building for the Airbus A350 XWB in Toulouse is named after him.

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Photo of René Mouille, a pioneer of the global helicopter sector.
René Mouille, pioneer of the helicopter industry

René Mouille was pivotal in pushing the helicopter industry forward and garnered a collection of groundbreaking inventions to his name. He is at the origin of the design for the SE3120 (Alouette I) and the SE 3130 Alouette II (the first turbine helicopter), and the Alouette III in 1958; the Super Frelon in 1962; the Puma in 1964; the Gazelle in 1967; and the Dauphin and Ecureuil in the 1970s. In 1963, he was nominated Engineer-in-Chief of the helicopter division of Sud Aviation. With over 40 patents to his name, Mouille was instrumental in pushing the barriers of helicopter technology, such as with the hub NAT (Non-Articulated Drag) with visco-elastic dampers, as well as the famous Fenestron© shrouded tail rotor and the Starflex main rotor. He also invented the SARIB suspension system. The inventions by Mouille and his collaborators are still widely used in the helicopter industry today. 

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Photo of aeronautical pioneer Ludwig Bölkow.
Ludwig Bölkow, aeronautical pioneer of Germany

An innovator of the aeronautical industry in Germany, Ludwig Bölkow created the Bölkow GmbH in Ottobrunn, which developed into the biggest aeronautics and spaceflight company in the country, MBB (Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm). MBB was an aerospace manufacturer that was later bought by Deutsche Aerospace AG, which is now part of Airbus. Bölkow was the key figure in the design of the world's first jet fighter, the Me 262, and was leading the rebuilding of the German aviation industry following the Second World War. Bölkow was awarded the Ludwig-Prandtl-Ring from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Luft- und Raumfahrt (German Society for Aeronautics and Astronautics) for "outstanding contribution in the field of aerospace engineering" in 1972. He was awarded a Gold Medal by the British Royal Aeronautical Society in 1978.

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Airbus History Decades 70s

1970s historic highlights

1970

Airbus Industrie was officially created as a GIE

France’s Aerospatiale (a merger of SEREB, Sud Aviation and Nord Aviation), and Germany’s Deutsche Airbus – a grouping of four firms, Messerschmittwerke, Hamburger Flugzeugbau, VFW GmbH and Siebelwerke ATG - each took a 50 per cent stake. Read more >


1971

First flight of C-212 Aviocar

Developed by Airbus predecessor CASA, the C212 has been used in charter and short-haul cargo roles, for search and rescue missions, and various military applications. Read more >

Photo of aeronautical pioneer Ludwig Bölkow.

1972

First flight of the SA360 Dauphin

The Aerospatiale built SA360 Dauphin was designed as the successor to the Alouette III. Read more >

The SA360 Dauphin helicopter is shown on the day of its first flight in 1972.

1972

The first flight of the A300 – the world's first twin engine wide-body aircraft

Marking a revolutionary step, the A300’s flight test campaign was performed by an international team of pilots. Read more >

Airbus’ A300 takes off on its maiden flight in 1972, performed by an international team of pilots.

1973

An odyssey across South and North America

A300 embarks on a six-week sales expedition across North and South America to show off Airbus’ new creation to customers, pilots and executives.  Read more >

The Airbus A300 is shown in flight during this aircraft’s 1973 tour across North and South America.

1974

Helios-A and Helios-B, launched in 1974 and 1976

Built by Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm, a German predecessor company to Airbus, they were designed to study solar processes and enabled the collection of data on comets.  Read more >

The Helios-A satellite, built by Airbus predecessor Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm, is readied for launch.

1974

A300B2 enters regular service for Air France

Initial commercial flights for Air France were from Paris to London. Read more >

Air France pilots and crew mark the operator’s first flight with an A300B aircraft, performed from Paris to London in 1973.

1974

First flight of the Tornado

The MRCA prototype, later known as the Tornato, took its maiden flight at Manching. The programme for this multi-role combat aircraft was initiated as a British-German-Italian joint venture, and was introduced into service beginning in the 1979. Read more >

The MRCA prototype, later known as the Tornado, takes off for its 1974 maiden flight.

1974

The launch of the Franco-German communications satellite Symphonie

Symphonie was the first European communications satellite system, seen here during final calibration work at the Toulouse space centre, was launched into orbit aboard an American Delta rocket. Read more >

Europe’s first communications satellite, Symphonie, is inspected ahead of its 1974 launch on a Delta rocket.

1977

Launch of the first European weather satellite Meteosat

Meteosat, the first European weather satellite and the basis for Airbus’ competence in meteorological platforms. Built by an industrial consortium, the prototype Meteosat-1 was launched in 1977 on a U.S. Delta rocket, followed by six others that were orbited by Ariane launchers beginning in 1981.  Read more >

A detailed view of Europe’s first weather satellite, Meteosat.

1978

Eastern Airlines, Airbus' first US customer, orders 23 A300B4 aircraft

After the breakthrough agreement with Eastern Airlines, there followed a series of orders that confirmed Airbus as a serious contender in the global aircraft manufacturing industry. Read more >

The first A330B4 for Eastern Airlines is assembled inside an Airbus production facility.

1978

First flight of the AS332 Super Puma

The AS332 Super Puma, featuring anti-crash fuel tanks, which offered military users new guarantees in terms of survivability and, in time, all the customers of the range would benefit from these improvements. Read more >

The Airbus AS332 Super Puma helicopter is shown during its maiden flight in 1978.

1979

First flight of BK 117

The precursor to the EC145, the BK117 was a 50:50 joint venture by MBB and Kawasaki. Read more >

The BK117 helicopter, precursor to Airbus’ H145, takes to the skies during its first flight in 1979.

1979

First successful launch of the Ariane 1

The first Ariane 1 was launched in 1979 from the Guiana Space Centre, providing the framework for a family of vehicles that were to become a benchmark in the world’s launch service industry. Read more >

Ariane 1 lifts off on its maiden flight from the Guiana Space Centre in 1979.

Airbus History Decades 80s

1980s historic highlights

1982

Cockpit advances

Delivery of the first A300 FFCC jetliner version, received by Indonesian airline Garuda, incorporating the Forward-Facing Crew Cockpit configuration, which enabled a two-pilot crew to fly the aircraft without the need for a flight engineer. This was a world’s first for a wide-body aircraft. The two-crew forward-facing cockpit has since become an airline industry standard.  Read more >

A view of Airbus’ innovative Forward-Facing Crew Cockpit configuration inside an A300 aircraft.

1982

First flight of the A310

The “Airbus Family” began with the shorter-fuselage A310 and longer-range A300. Lufthansa and Swissair were the first carriers.  Read more >

Side view of Airbus’ A310 aircraft during its 1982 maiden flight.

1983

Spacelab starts its journey into space

Spacelab, built in Bremen by MBB-Erno as prime contractor, starts its first journey into space on board the Columbia space shuttle. The command and data managament subsystem CDMS was developed by MATRA.  Read more >

A partial view of the Spacelab reusable laboratory, launched into orbit in 1983.

1983

First flight of the CN235

Developed jointly by CASA and IPTN, the CN235 has highly diverse applications, covering the spectrum from airline flights, patrol and anti-drug trafficking to cargo, VIP duties and special missions.  Read more >

A CN235 airlifter speeds down the runway ahead of its 1983 maiden flight.

1985

Development of Eurostar

A series of high-performance communications satellites suited to a full range of communications missions – including links with fixed ground stations, mobile services, broadcast and broadband  Read more >

A representation of the Eurostar NEO satellite platform.

1987

Launch of A320

With the groundbreaking Fly-by-wire technology, the A320 Family would go on to record spectacular sales success, becoming the best-selling jetliner aircraft family ever. Read more >

Airbus’ single-aisle A319, A320 and A321 aircraft fly in formation.

1988

Maiden flight of the Bo108

The Bo108 took off with the most up-to-date technology, including a composite structure, new vibration absorbers, and ultra-modern avionics with screens. Read more >

The Bo108 helicopter is shown during its 1988 maiden flight.

1988

Launch of the first Ariane 4

The first Ariane 4 flew in June 1988 from the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana, and was retired from service in February 2003, performing 113 successful launches and capturing 50% of the commercial satellite launch services marketplace – demonstrating that Europe could more than hold its own in the commercial launch field that was to become increasingly competitive. Read more >

Ariane 4 is poised for its first launch, performed from the Guiana Space Centre in 1988.

1989

Daimler-Benz take over MBB, forming Daimler Aerospace SA, or DASA


Photo of Jean Pierson, Airbus’ CEO and Managing Director from 1985 to 1998.
Jean Pierson, CEO and managing director of Airbus 1985 – 1998

Jean Pierson was a French engineer and industrialist , having participated in the Concorde programme and the development of Airbus as one of its historical leaders. Pierson championed the multicultural spirit of Airbus which summed up the organisation’s essence from its beginnings to the present day: “The determination of the partners to keep the damaging demons of intra-European rivalry at bay was a key factor in the success of Airbus Industrie. It is in the interests of Europe that this determination should prevail. If there could be one lesson…to be learned from the Airbus Industrie experience, it would be that co-operation is the key to prosperity and that there simply is room no more for narrow nationalistic endeavours.”

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Airbus History Decades 90s

1990s historic highlights

1991

Arrival of the A340

The ultra long-range four engined A340-300, able to seat 295 in a three-class configuration and fly 7,150 nautical miles/13,200 kilometres, was rolled out in October, 1991.  Read more >

Airbus’ A340 is introduced to the world during a media event.

1992

Aerospatiale (France) and MBB (Germany) combine their helicopter activities to form Eurocopter on 1st January, 1992


1992

Maiden flight of the medium to long-range A330

Carrying 335 passengers in two classes, the A330 marked another milestone with the first Rolls-Royce engine – the Trent 700 - on an Airbus aircraft.  Read more >

Airbus’ widebody A330 takes off for its maiden flight in 1992.

1994

First flight of the Eurofighter

The extremely capable, flexible and versatile swing-role front-line fighter aircraft flew for the first time. Every day these aircraft protect the skies in Europe, the Middle East and the Southern hemisphere. Read more >

An in-flight Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft ascends.

1994

Maiden flight of the EC135

The first helicopter in the Eurocopter range and successor to the BO108. The most important addition to the EC135 is its Fenestron® tail rotor. Read more >

The first helicopter in the Eurocopter product line, and successor to the BO108, is shown during its maiden flight in 1994.

1994

Rollout of the A300-600ST Beluga

The Beluga was the successor to the Super Guppy transporter for Airbus components. Read more >

Airbus’ first A300-600ST transport aircraft, nicknamed the Beluga, rolls out from its assembly facility in 1994.

1995

First flight of the EC120 Colibri

With this helicopter, Eurocopter extends its range to include 1.5 metric tonne machines. Read more >

The EC120 Colibri is shown during its 1995 maiden flight, with a view of the two pilots inside the cockpit.

1996

Super jumbo A3XX

Airbus Industrie sets up Large Aircraft Division, to develop the super jumbo A3XX, later designated the A380.  Read more >

An in-flight representation of Airbus’ A3XX aircraft, later designated the A380.

1996

First official flight of the NH90

The maiden flight took place at the Eurocopter plant in Marignane, France in the presence of military and governmental representatives from France, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands (the nations participating in the NH90 Programme). Read more >

February 15, 1996: The ceremony for the first official flight of the NH90 took place at the Airbus Helicopters (former Eurocopter) plant in Marignane, France in the presence of military and governmental representatives from France, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands (the nations participating in the NH90 Programme)

1997

Successful lift off of the Ariane 5

As of early 2019, the heavy-lift vehicle had been launched more than 100 times from the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana. Its payload lift capability has evolved from the initial 6,900 kg. in geostationary transfer orbit to an enhanced performance of 10,000 kg., along with a capacity of 20 tonnes into low Earth orbit. Read more >

An Ariane 5 launch vehicle lifts off from the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana.

1998

First flight of C295

Originally designed for the deployment of forces, the C295 can transport over nine tonnes of troops or cargo. Further developed from the CN235, it has a longer fuselage and more powerful engines.  Read more >

The Airbus C295 tactical transport aircraft made its first flight 1998.

1999

Production investment contract signed for the Franco-German combat helicopter Tiger

The contract marked a decisive step towards production of Tiger, with an initial batch of 160 helicopters (80 for Germany and 80 for France) to be procured. Read more >

A Tiger HAD helicopter takes off from an unprepared field.

1999

DASA, Aerospatiale Matra, and CASA merge to form EADS


1999

Maiden flight of the EC145

The EC145 offers an increased maximum takeoff weight and payload capacity as well as a modern cockpit identical to that of the EC135.  Read more >

Airbus’ EC145 (later re-designated the H145) is shown during its maiden flight in 1999.

1999

Maiden flight of the EC130 B4

This new member of the Ecureuil/AStar family offers more cabin space, extensive visibility and a reduced sound level.  Read more >

A view of the EC130 (later re-designated the H130) lifting off for its 1999 maiden flight.

Airbus History Decades 00s

2000s historic highlights

2000

"Day One" as the official start of operations for EADS


2000

The merger of the Franco-British company Matra Marconi Space with the space activites of Daimler-Chrysler Aerospace leads to the foundation of Astrium


2001

The new EC725 helicopter is presented to the French Air Force Chief of Staff

This new version will be able to carry a much higher military payload, and will also have an increased civil range of action compared to the MK2 version of the Cougar / Super Puma. Read more >

An up-close view of an in-flight EC725 military helicopter (later re-designated the H225M).

2002

First flight tests of the A318, the smallest member of the A320 family

Captain Bernd Schaefer confirmed that the aircraft handled as anticipated on its maiden flight, which kicked off the A318 flight test campaign. Read more >

A side view of the Airbus A318 commercial aircraft during its 2002 maiden flight.

2003

Mars Express heads for the Red Planet

Europe’s first mission to the Red Planet, Mars Express lifted off in June 2003. After arriving at Mars in December 2003, data from this 1,120-kg. planetary orbiter helped answer fundamental questions about the geology, atmosphere, surface environment, history of water and potential for life on the planet.  Read more >

A representation of Europe’s Mars Express planetary explorer spacecraft, which was launched in 2003.

2003

Launch of A400M programme

With the first flight performed in December 2009, the A400M developed for tactical and strategic missions – along with force-projection through aerial refuelling – Airbus set the bar high in terms of technical and programme complexity. Read more >

A view of an A400M military airlifter flying above clouds.

2004

Opening of American Eurocopter assembly plant in Columbus, Mississippi.

The Columbus site will mainly focus on the assembly and customisation of the helicopters sold by American Eurocopter to local and federal government organisations for military operations, homeland security and other parapublic missions. Read more >

Helicopter components are assembled at the Airbus production facility in Columbus, Mississippi, USA.

2005

EADS provides relief assistance and 2 million euro donation in response to tsunami disaster in Southeast Asia

Through the years Airbus has supported international aid organisations in regions affected by natural disasters. We bring our products and resources, from relief flights to satellite imagery and helicopter hours, to emergency responders to help alleviate some of the world's most pressing challenges.  Read more >

Relief supplies are ready for loading onto an Airbus A340-600 flight test aircraft.

2005

A380, the world's largest and most modern passenger jet is unveiled to the public

Later that year it would complete its maiden flight.  Read more >

Airbus’ A380 is shown after its 2005 unveiling during a media event in Toulouse, France.

2005

Eurocopter Ecureuil AS350 piloted by Didier Delsalle lands on Mount Everest on May 14, 2005

This tremendous achievement breaks the world record for the highest altitude landing and takeoff ever, which sets an ultimate milestone in the history of aviation.  Read more >

Piloted by Didier Delsalle, an Airbus AS350 helicopter (later re-designated the H125) flies over Mount Everest in 2005.

2005

EADS and China agree on strategic partnership

Airbus strengthened its foothold in China, with an order of 150 A320 family aircraft, the largest order in Airbus history so far, and a new engineering centre to be set up. Read more >

A side view of an in-flight Airbus A320 aircraft in China Eastern Airlines’ livery.

2006

Launch of Metop-A

Observation data provided by Metop enable more precise weather forecasting, better prediction of natural disasters, and enhanced measurements for issues such as climate change, the progressive melting of polar ice and the rise in sea levels.  Read more >

A representation of the Airbus-produced Metop-A weather satellite launched in 2006.

2006

U.S. Army selects the UH-72A Lakota

U.S. Army selects the UH-72A Lakota version of the EC145 rotorcraft as the military service’s Light Utility Helicopter. More than 400 have been supplied to the U.S. Army and Navy, all on on-time and on-cost – with production performed at a facility in Columbus, Mississippi. Read more >

An overhead view of the demonstrator utilized in the successful bid to win the U.S. Army’s UH-72A Lakota helicopter contract.

2007

First flight of the A330 MRTT

Based on the successful A330-200 airliner, the A330 MRTT is the benchmark for new-generation multi-role tanker/transport. Read more >

The A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), which performed its maiden flight in 2007, is shown with the Aerial Refuelling Boom System deployed.

2008

Columbus sets sail for ISS on the Space Shuttle Atlantis

The Columbus science laboratory was launched aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis on February 7, 2008 and docked at the International Space Station (ISS). It is the largest single contribution to the ISS made by the European Space Agency (ESA).  Read more >

An in-orbit photo of the Columbus science laboratory docked at the International Space Station.

2008

Inauguration of A320 final assembly line in Tianjin, China

Airbus expanded its industrial network by creating a new A320 final assembly line in Tianjin, China – the company’s first outside of Europe.  Read more >

Employees at Airbus’ A320 Family final assembly line in Tianjin, China mark the facility’s 2008 inauguration with a group photo.

2008

ATV in service of the International Space Station

The Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), a servicing spacecraft for the International Space Station with the delivery of propellant, water, air, payload and experiment equipment. In total, five ATVs were built and orbited by Ariane 5 heavy-lift launchers from French Guiana for docking with the International Space Station, spanning a period from March 2008 to July 2014. Read more >

A representation of the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) for servicing of the International Space Station.

2009

Maiden flight of the EC175

A joint programme of Eurocopter and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), the latest EC175 prototype is configured for oil and gas operations.  Read more >

The EC175 (later re-designated the H175) is shown during its 2009 maiden flight.

Photo of Fabrice Brégier, President of Airbus Commercial Aircraft from 2012 to 2018.
Fabrice Brégier, Airbus COO 2006 – 2018, President of Airbus Commercial Aircraft 2012 – 2018

In 1998, Mr. Brégier became CEO of Matra BAe Dynamics. He was appointed CEO of MBDA, the leading European missile systems company that was created in 2001 by Aerospatiale Matra, British Aerospace and Finmeccanica. In 2003, Fabrice Brégier became President and CEO of the Eurocopter Group and was appointed Head of EADS’ Eurocopter Division in June 20

Mr. Brégier was appointed Airbus Chief Operating Officer (COO) in October 2006. As a Member of the EADS Executive Committee, he was commissioned by Louis Gallois to improve the overall operational performance of the Group. From 2012 – 2018, Fabrice Brégier served as President of Airbus Commercial Aircraft.

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Airbus History Decades 10s

2010s historic highlights

2010

The new generation EC145 T2 performs its first flight

The EC145 T2 was developed with major innovations such as the dual AFCS, reducing pilot’s workload, particularly in difficult weather or mission conditions. The AFCS is coupled with a satellite navigation system (WAAS/EGNOS), allowing the helicopter to perform high-precision landings in complete safety in any location. Another innovation is the tail boom featuring the Fenestron tail rotor. Read more >

The EC145 (later re-designated the H145) banks during its maiden flight in 2010.

2010

First flight of the X3 demonstrator

The X3 is a high-speed hybrid helicopter developed to perform vertical takeoffs and landings and obtain cruising speeds of approximately 220 kts. Read more >

The X3 high-speed hybrid helicopter demonstrator made its first flight in 2010.

2011

A record breaking year

Beginning with a milestone order: Virgin America’s acquisition of 60 A320s, Airbus hits above its 10,000th order mark. Also in January 2011, Airbus signed a Memorandum of Understanding with IndiGo for 180 A320s. And during PAS in June, AirAsia’s made a history-making booking for 200 A320neo aircraft, which represented the biggest order placed to date for Airbus’ best-selling A320 family of jetliners. Read more >

AirAsia’s order for 200 Airbus A320neo aircraft is celebrated at the 2011 Paris Air Show.

2012

Clean Sky 2 initiative

Eurocopter signs up for leadership in a European compound rotorcraft demonstration project through the Clean Sky 2 initiative.  Read more >

Airbus and its predecessor companies pursued “green” helicopter technologies through Europe’s Clean Sky initiatives.

2013

The A350 XWB takes flight

Airbus’ newest and most efficient jetliner – the A350 XWB – conducted its highly successful maiden flight from Toulouse-Blagnac Airport.  Read more >

Side view of an in-flight Airbus A350 XWB commercial aircraft.

2013

Launch of Gaia

Gaia – an Airbus-designed and-built space surveyor for ESA – is to compile a 3D space catalogue of more than 1,000 million stars, or approximately roughly 1% of the stars in the Milky Way.  Read more >

A representation of the Gaia space surveyor satellite, which Airbus designed and built for the European Space Agency (ESA).

2014

EADS renamed Airbus Group

EADS was renamed Airbus Group (which later in 2017 renamed to Airbus). Eurocopter becomes Airbus Helicopters. The rebranding marks a new era in the history of the company as it joins Airbus and Airbus Defence & Space within the new Airbus Group.

The Airbus logo as shown on a waving flag.

2014

First flight of the A320neo

The highly-efficient aircraft with new engine option along with standard Sharklets, will deliver a 15% fuel burn reduction to carriers. Read more >

An Airbus A320neo commercial aircraft is shown in flight.

2014

Cometary encounter

Launched in 2004, the Rosetta spacecraft spent 10 years on a voyage of more than six billion kilometres to reach and study the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. In November 2014 Rosetta deployed the lander Philae for a touchdown on the celestial object. Read more >

A representation of the Airbus-produced Rosetta spacecraft, which was launched to study the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

2015

Inauguration of operations of the A320 FAL in Mobile, Alabama

The facility joins existing  final assembly lines in Hamburg; Toulouse; and Tianjin, China, boosting the production of the best-selling single-aisle aircraft family.  Read more >

A view of the 2015 inauguration ceremony for Airbus’ A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Alabama, USA.

2015

Unveiling the H160

The H160 is unveiled on Airbus Helicopters’ Heli-Expo booth in Orlando, Florida. Its first flight took place in Marignane (France) on June 13, 2015.  Read more >

Side view of an in-flight Airbus H160 helicopter.

2015

Airbus launches business accelerator BizLab

Airbus formally launched its first global aerospace business accelerator Airbus BizLab – located in Toulouse, France, with a second site at Hamburg, Germany.  Read more >

A human arm shakes hands with a robot arm.

2015

Launch of the LISA Pathfinder

This ESA technology demonstrator mission is one of the most ambitious scientific undertakings to date: proving key elements of Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Read more >

A representation of the European Space Agency’s LISA Pathfinder technology demonstrator, which was produced by Airbus.

2016

Airbus delivered its 10,000th aircraft, an A350-900 to Singapore Airlines

A year of key milestones, including service introductions of the A320neo (new engine option) jetliner; first deliveries of the latest A330 Family member tailored for regional routes; expansion of the A350 XWB operator base; start of final assembly for the A330neo; and its 10,000th overall delivery.  Read more >

The aft section of an A350-900 in Singapore Airlines’ livery, with a special logo marking Airbus’ 10,000th aircraft delivery.

2016

Galileo goes live

Galileo, the global navigation satellite system (GNSS) went live in 2016. From the beginning of Galileo through 2018, Airbus was prime contractor for the satellite navigation system’s ground control segment, which provides the day-to-day control for all the Galileo satellites in orbit.  Read more >

A representation of an Airbus-produced Galileo satellite in orbit.

2017

Maiden flight of the A330neo

Powered by latest-generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, the A330neo will expand operators’ market opportunities with a range capability increase of approximately 400 nautical miles while carrying more payload.  Read more >

An in-flight photo of a banking Airbus A330neo commercial aircraft.

2018

Europe’s Future Combat Air System (FCAS)

The landmark industrial agreement between Airbus and Dassault Aviation envisions a “system of systems” – composed of next-generation fighter aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, future cruise missiles and drones, and military services. Read more >

A diagram showing how the various elements in Airbus’ Future Combat Air System (FCAS) work together.

2018

The autonomous demonstrator VSR700

Airbus Helicopters started autonomous flight trials of a VSR700 Optionally Piloted Vehicle (OPV) demonstrator, without safety pilot on December 20, 2018.  Read more >

Airbus Helicopters’ VSR700 Optionally Piloted Vehicle (OPV) demonstrator is shown during a flight trial.

2018

The newest members of Airbus’ single-aisle aircraft family

A milestone partnership between Airbus and Canada’s Bombardier took effect in July with Airbus acquiring a majority stake in the C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership (CSALP). This entity manufactures and sells Bombardier’s single-aisle C Series jets: the CS100 and CS300, which are renamed the A220-100 and A220-300 as new members of Airbus’ single-aisle aircraft family.  Read more >

Side view of an in-flight Airbus A220-300 version.

2018

The first BelugaXL

Airbus’ next-generation super airlifter – performed its maiden flight on 19 July in Toulouse.  Read more >

Airbus’ first BelugaXL oversize cargo airlifter is shown in flight.

2018

Launch of the BepiColombo

Launched on an Ariane 5 in October 2018, the BepiColombo, a joint mission of ESA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to research the solar system’s smallest and least-explored terrestrial planet – Mercury.  Read more >

A representation of the Airbus-produced BepiColombo satellite, launched by Ariane 5 on a joint mission between the European Space Agency (ESA) and Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

2019

Growth of the A220

As of early 2019, more than 530 orders were placed for A220 aircraft. Airbus is to open a new assembly line for the aircraft at its U.S. manufacturing facility in Mobile, Alabama, which will build jetliners for U.S. customers.  Read more >

An Airbus A220-100 in Delta Air Lines’ livery ascends after takeoff.

2019

Delivery of the 12,000th Airbus jetliner

Airbus delivered the 12,000th commercial aircraft in the company’s 50-year history – an A220-100 assembled in Mirabel, Canada for U.S.-based Delta Air Lines. This milestone handover highlighted Airbus’ growth since its first-ever jetliner delivery in 1974, and spotlighted the A220 Family – the smallest member of Airbus’ in-production product line. Read more >

Delivery of the 12,000th Airbus commercial aircraft – an A220-100 for Delta Air Lines – is celebrated in 2019.

Photo of Dr. Thomas Enders, Airbus CEO from 2007 to 2019.
Tom Enders, CEO of Airbus 2007 – 2019

Dr. Thomas (“Tom”) Enders served as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Airbus SE, from June 2012 to April 2019, after having been CEO of the Airbus Commercial Aircraft Division since 2007. Before that he served as Co-CEO of EADS between 2005 and 2007. He was Head of the Group’s Defence Division from 2000 to 2005. He has been a member of the Executive Committee of Airbus S.E. since its creation in 2000.

Prior to joining the aerospace industry in 1991, Enders worked, inter alia, as a Member of the “Planungsstab” of the German Ministry of Defence and in various foreign policy think tanks. He studied economics, political science and history at the University of Bonn and at the University of California in Los Angeles.

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History in depth

History of Airbus Commercial Aircraft

History of Airbus Commercial Aircraft

History of Airbus Helicopters

History of Airbus Helicopters

History of Airbus Defence

History of Airbus Defence

History of Airbus Space

History of Airbus Space

Concorde Aerospatiale France - British Aircraft Corporation

2 March 1969 – The day Concorde flew into the history books

50 years of Airbus

50 years of Airbus

pioneering progress

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