The Airbus story began in the mid to late 1960’s when Western European Aerospace Manufacturers along with their respective governments realized a different approach was needed in order to complete with the American Aerospace giants of Boeing, McDonnell Douglas and Lockheed. The first aircraft to be designed, marketed, and manufactured would be called the A300, which would be a widebody aircraft built to compete with the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 and the Lockheed L-1011 Tri-Star. Airbus Industrie GIE, would be formally established in December 1970 as a government initiative between the countries of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. The prototype A300 would make its first flight in 1972 and would enter revenue service as the A300-B2 in 1974 with Air France. The A300 initially would see limited success, but ultimately opened the door to a bright and promising future. The A300 has been largely withdrawn from passenger service, but soldiers on as a Freighter.
Airbus would grow steadily since those early days and has enjoyed incredible success in not only the commercial aircraft arena, but also now in military aircraft and helicopter manufacturing, but commercial aircraft manufacturing is where they have exceled. The now named Airbus SE is now running neck and neck with rival Boeing when it comes to commercial aircraft orders. As of February 2022, Airbus has logged a total of 20,398 orders for the A220, A300, A310, A318, A319, A320, A321, A330, A340, A350 and A380 aircraft and has delivered 12,481 aircraft. The A220/A320 family of aircraft account for 16,755 aircraft ordered alone with 10,435 aircraft delivered. Airbus now offers a wide range of narrow body, wide body and freighter aircraft with several different engine options available. The largest passenger aircraft that Airbus manufactured was the double-decker A380, and recently delivered the 254th and final aircraft to Emirates Airlines in December of 2021. Airbus has come a long way since the early days when they only had 15 orders on their books for their A300 aircraft, Airbus will continue to have a place in the commercial aircraft industry.
The selection of recent photos highlight just a small portion of the airlines that operate Airbus aircraft today. Until next time “Blue Skies To All!”