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Sat, May 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Airbus

French/German Agreement Signed 40 Years Ago Friday

On May 29, 1969, the French Minister of Transport, Jean Chamant and the German Minister of Economic Affairs, Karl Schiller, signed an agreement for the joint-development of the A300 aircraft, the first European twin-aisle twin-engine jet for medium-haul air travel. This historic event took place during the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget.

Over the past 40 years, Airbus has built 822 A300/A310 Family aircraft, while the original business model only expected 300 aircraft to be built. The A300 has been delivered to over 80 customers, and over the years these aircraft have flown more than 30 million flight-hours. More than 620 aircraft are still flying today.

Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO, says the forming the joint venture was a bold strategic decision.  "The pioneering spirit of our engineers, as well as Airbus' continuous strive for innovation and international cooperation, have made us a global market leader and at the same time a symbol for successful European cooperation. "New standards. Together" - this is our guiding principle and from now on our new tagline".

The A300 program was also the starting point of a successful pan-European cooperation. From the beginning, the work was divided: The wings were produced in the UK, the fuselage in Germany and the cockpit in France. The Final Assembly Line was built in Toulouse, France. Eighteen months later, on December 18, 1970, Airbus Industrie was created as Grouping of Economic Interest under French law, gathering the European industrial partners of the program SNIAS (Société nationale industrielle aérospatiale), Deutsche Airbus, Hawker-Siddeley and VFW-Fokker.

Over the years, additional manufacturers joined the consortium, the Spanish CASA in December 1971 and British Aerospace in January 1979.

Today, Airbus is a leading aircraft manufacturer with a modern and comprehensive family of airliners, ranging in capacity from 100 to more than 500 seats. Airbus has delivered more than 5,600 aircraft to some 400 customers and operators worldwide and boasts a backlog of around 3,500 aircraft for delivery.

FMI: www.airbus.com

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