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.
The talent and skills of nearly 48,000 Airbus employees in France (and more than 63,000 people when Airbus subsidiaries and shareholdings are included) form the bedrock of the company’s global competitiveness.
Airbus headquarters are located in the southwest region of Occitanie, near the Toulouse-Blagnac Airport. In Occitanie, more than 28,000 people are Airbus employees and approximately 4,500 work in such central functions as finance, marketing, engineering, customer support programmes and procurement.
In the vicinity of Airbus headquarters is the company’s Leadership University, conceived to provide tailored development and learning solutions for the Group's current and future leaders – covering all functions and levels from top management to production, with a global aspiration to reach every employee.
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.
The area around Toulouse-Blagnac Airport has final assembly lines for the full range of Airbus commercial jetliners (A320, A330, A350 and A380 Families) as well as facilities for passenger cabin outfitting and painting of completed aircraft.
The Airbus Training Centre in Toulouse features full-flight simulators for all the company’s jetliner types, providing training for customer airlines’ flight crews, maintenance staff and cabin attendants, as well as performance and operational staff.
Toulouse-Blagnac also houses operations dedicated to Airbus commercial aircraft engineering, structural design and testing, systems organisation, flight and ground testing, system integration testing, propulsion and more.
Also situated in the industrial zones around Toulouse-Blagnac Airport is the Henri Ziegler Delivery Centre, where customers receive their aircraft for fly-away; Airbus’ Saint-Eloi factory, which manufactures pylons that integrate jet engines on the wings of all Airbus aircraft families; the home for Airbus’ Beluga transport aircraft fleet; and Lycée Airbus, a professional company school that trains more than 300 young people each year for work in the aeronautical industry.
Saint-Nazaire, on the Atlantic coast of France, encompasses two production sites situated on 75 hectares. Its 3,060-strong workforce specialises in assembling, equipping and testing the forward sections of A320 Family aircraft, as well as the forward and centre sections of the A330 and flagship A380 jetliners. Sub-assemblies come from French, European and worldwide partners, making the Saint-Nazaire site a true international logistical platform. After being assembled, the fuselage elements are equipped with major systems before being tested and transported by Airbus’ Beluga cargo aircraft – or by sea in the case of the larger A380 components – to various company final assembly line locations in Europe.
About an hour east of Saint-Nazaire, on a site of 88 hectares, more than 3,000 Airbus employees in Nantes produce centre wing boxes for all Airbus commercial jetliners; along with air inlets on nacelles that equip the A350 and A380, the A320neo’s CFM International LEAP-1A, and the A330neo engines. Another product of Saint-Nazaire are radomes that protect nose-mounted aircraft antennas. Other manufacturing activities at Nantes include ailerons for A380s and A330s; as well as the A350 airliner’s belly fairing. Nantes also is a leader in the manufacture of structural parts in carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) – the weight-saving composite material that Airbus has increasingly incorporated into its aircraft.
Marignane, near the port city of Marseilles in southern France, is headquarters for Airbus' helicopter division – occupying a location that has been at the forefront of rotorcraft technology for more than six decades. Close to 9,000 employees at the site are engaged in nearly every aspect of the helicopter business, from design and assembly to training and customer service.
A full range of Airbus helicopters take shape at Marignane, from light single-engine rotary-wing aircraft to the larger military rotorcraft of the Cougar family. In 2016, a large development centre opened, reflecting Airbus' commitment to innovation, research and development.
Approximately 650 people work at the Paris-Le Bourget site in Dugny (adjacent to Le Bourget Airport outside Paris), at a new purpose-built facility specialising in rotor blade production and research on composite materials. Manufacturing some 3,000 blades annually and repairing close to half that number, the site is a vital link in Airbus’ rotorcraft production chain with the ambition to become the world reference for blades.
Defence and Space
Airbus’ Defence and Space division develops innovative and efficient solutions to meet the needs of our customers in the Defence, Space and Security sectors. Space exploration, weather and climate studies, deforestation monitoring and secure communications anytime anywhere are some examples of Airbus’ activities which demonstrate our commitment to be a force for good. We are protecting the world with high-end technologies integrated in our satellites, multi-intelligence systems, combat aircraft or multi-role aircraft (transport, refuelling, search and rescue, surveillance and reconnaissance), and their autonomous versions: drones.
In France, with 23 different sites, close to our customers, Airbus Defence and Space has a workforce of 6,000 employees. With subcontractors, about 9,000 people work hand in hand, fully-focused on supporting our customers, while living Airbus’ values every day: customer focus, integrity, respect, creativity, reliability and teamwork. Committed to contributing to a more connected and safer world, we are working every day with passion to deliver sustainable solutions. Within a flexible environment, our teams rely on our shared expertise and experience to contribute to the future of Defence, Space and Security in France, and to foster an autonomous sovereign Europe.
The two main sites of Airbus Defence and Space are located in Elancourt, a southwest suburb of Paris, and in Toulouse.
In Elancourt, our focus is on:
- Secured radio communication (PMR) for Police, Gendarmerie and Rescue services
- Secure satellite communications for defence forces,
- Intelligence systems (image intelligence, electromagnetic intelligence, open source) and massive intelligence
- Maritime Traffic Surveillance Systems
- Drone systems
- Space equipment production
- Cyber security together with Airbus’ specialist subsidiaries, Airbus Protect and Stormshield.
Future defence solutions like the Multi-Domain Combat Cloud and the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) are also developed in Elancourt as part of an international collaboration.
Recognised as a trusted partner in France, Airbus is the French Defence Ministry’s largest industrial supplier. In Toulouse, the flight testing for the A400M military transport and other military aircraft is undertaken in cooperation with Airbus’ flight test facilities in Spain.
In the southeast of Toulouse, this is where the heart of Airbus’ French space activities are developed. Airbus is currently the only company simultaneously involved in access-to-space (via its share in Ariane Group), in satellites and orbital system manufacturing, in secure telecommunication services (teleport) as well as in providing a large range of value-added imagery and services.
Within its Toulouse-based sites, the complete stages of design, development, integration, assembly and test of satellite systems are performed. These satellite systems offer capabilities for Earth Observation, Meteorology, Space Sciences and Telecommunication.
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. More than 20 million km2 of Earth observation imagery are produced every day, serving more than 2,000 customers in 167 countries.
At the leading edge of innovation, Airbus is the first company to introduce electric propulsion for large satellites and to offer operational laser communication between satellites. Airbus, in partnership with OneWeb, has initiated low orbit communication satellite constellations to deliver high-speed internet around the world. With OneSat, Airbus is pioneering the development of flexible geostationary satellites. This new type of satellite will be a game changer for the industry by allowing our customers to deliver capacity where and when it is needed most.
We have designed and manufactured a self-funded system of very high resolution Earth observation satellites, named Pléiades Neo, which deliver the best quality imagery on the market via an innovative cloud solution, OneAtlas: a new way to access and exploit imagery and geoinformation.
Serving the largest space agencies, Airbus is helping address the major concerns of humankind today in the scientific domains of:
- Interplanetary exploration
- Fundamental physics
Combining more than 200 years of in-orbit experience with more than 20 ongoing missions, Airbus is designing and building, for example, the Earth Return Orbiter which will return the first ever rock samples from Mars, the next generation weather satellites MetOp Second Generation, the second pair of Copernicus Sentinel-2 climate monitoring satellites, and JUICE, the first European mission to analyse the icy moons of Jupiter.
From the beginning of Europe’s Ariane programme, the site of Les Mureaux near Paris has produced the centre core stages for this highly successful commercial launch vehicle, with activities moved from the heavy-lift Ariane 5 to the next generation Ariane 6. A new integration facility assembles core stages for the new generation Ariane 6, using lean production methods and a horizontal workflow that succeeds the current vertical build process. The production prime contractor for Ariane launchers is ArianeGroup – a joint venture of Airbus and Safran.
Find here more information in French, for the Airbus Space activity in France
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 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.
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