France is at the core of Airbus skills, technologies, innovation and production. As one of the company’s four founding countries, France hosts the company's headquarters; it has final assembly lines for all Airbus commercial aircraft families; is home to major production facilities for helicopter, space and defence activities; and includes locations for leading-edge research.
Overall, Airbus exports more than €26 billion of aeronautical and space products from France each year, while placing some €12.5 billion of orders with more than 10,000 French industrial partners annually.
Recognised as a trusted partner in France, Airbus is the French Defence Ministry’s largest industrial supplier and the company has a number of key sites around the country – including Toulouse, where flight testing for the A400M military transport and other military aircraft is undertaken, often shared with Airbus’ flight test facilities in Spain. Airbus has also been developing its cybersecurity business in Toulouse.
At Elancourt, in the Île-de-France region of north-central France, Airbus employs approximately 2,200 people committed to network-centric operations, intelligence, secured communication and cyber security.
Airbus remains the only company present simultaneously in access-to-space (via its participation in Ariane Group), satellite systems and services.
Airbus’ satellite business is managed from a large site in the southeast area of Toulouse, where the company develops, assembles, integrates and tests satellite systems for a whole range of applications including Earth observation, meteorology, science and telecommunications.
These product lines include communication satellites using the large, highly reliable Eurostar E3000 spacecraft platform chosen by many satellite operators that can accommodate the latest electric propulsion systems; along with the long-running series of SPOT Earth-observation satellites and their successors (Pleiades Neo). Built at Toulouse as well is the miniaturised AstroSat100 satellite platform, weighing between 100 kg. and 200 kg., and configured for customers that include France, Vietnam, Chile and Algeria in duties ranging from Earth observation, mapping and the monitoring of natural resources to scientific research, reconnaissance and other missions.
Continuing Airbus’ history of developing Earth imaging satellites in Toulouse, the city is also home to geo-information with the distribution of both raw data and sophisticated geo-information services to sectors including security and defence, agriculture and energy extraction.
To maintain Airbus at the forefront of the satellite business, a 4,600 square metre facility was inaugurated in 2017 to handle serial production of satellites for OneWeb.
The facility is an equally-owned venture of OneWeb and Airbus that is building 900 satellites for the OneWeb high-speed internet constellation. Benefitting from Airbus’ industrial and space expertise, this Toulouse facility’s assembly line will include state-of-the-art automation, test equipment and data acquisition capabilities for shorter assembly times while providing the means to analyse factory performance and process improvements. OneWeb satellite content is 65% French.
ArianeGroup’s sites are located at Les Mureaux, near Paris, and at Saint-Médard-en-Jalles near Bordeaux. A combined workforce of more than 3,000 employees work on access to space and ballistic missile-related products.
From the beginning of Europe’s Ariane programme, the site of Les Mureaux has produced the centre core stages for this highly successful commercial launch vehicle, with activity today focussed on the heavy-lift Ariane 5. In the future, a new integration facility will assemble core stages for the next-generation Ariane 6, using lean production methods and a horizontal workflow that succeeds the currently-used vertical build-up process. The production prime contractor for Ariane launchers is ArianeGroup – an equally owned joint venture of Airbus and Safran.
Airbus exports more than €26 billion of aeronautical and space products from France each year, while placing some €12.5 billion of orders with more than 10,000 French industrial partners annually. At the same time, the company’s commitment to its small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) suppliers is reflected in its membership in the SME pact designed to strengthen ties between large industrial groups and entrepreneurs.
Airbus, one of the top 10 largest patent holders in France, registers more than 370 trademarks each year and expends around €1.1 billion annually in research and development. The company supports France’s network of competitiveness clusters including Aerospace Valley in Occitanie and Nouvelle-Aquitaine, SAFE in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and ASTech in the Île-de-France area.
Airbus works with schools and universities across France to promote interest in aeronautics among future generations. In recent years, Airbus has consistently ranked among France’s most attractive employers and its commitment to equality and diversity is widely recognised.
Airbus has made a commitment to ecologically sustainable business, which is symbolised by the design chosen for its A350 XWB final assembly line facility adjacent to Toulouse-Blagnac Airport. This massive building makes extensive use of natural lighting and generates 55% of its own energy, due in part to the 22,000 square metres of solar photovoltaic panels located on its roof.
Airbus is an essential contributor to the economy of France through its mastery of advanced technologies and the excellence of its employees – the basis of the company’s competitiveness. Airbus is involved in many partnerships with the National Education Ministry and participates in the training of students in aeronautics.
As the main contributor to France's trade balance, Airbus is a driving force for the industry and contributes directly to job creation throughout the country. The company strives to consolidate the excellence of the entire industry by committing itself sustainably to small and medium-sized enterprises and ethical trading initiatives and by strengthening relations with innovative SMEs.
Airbus is also the leading defence industrial supplier of the French Defence Procurement Agency and a key industrial partner of the security sector.
Airbus is proud to be the industrial partner of reference in France, building an innovative European industry while being a significant exporter and job creator.