Case 12-2

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1. In 2004, EADS (European Aeronautical Defence and Space Company), also known as Airbus, manufactured and delivered 305 aircraft. This made it the largest aeroplane company in the world. It now sells more commercial aircraft than its nearest competitor, the American company Boeing. Some 50,000 people work for Airbus worldwide. Since the 1970s, they have sold nearly 5,000 aircraft to more than 180 customers. Today, an EADS Airbus aircraft takes off somewhere in the world every four seconds. In 2003, the company’s budget was over 19 billion euros. It is one of the largest employers in Europe and one of the most successful companies in the world.

2. EADS began at a business conference for aeronautical companies in Paris in 1965. The first EADS aircraft, the Airbus A300B1, flew in 1972. Airbus is an unusual cooperative effort between four European countries. Components (parts) for a single aircraft are produced at 16 different locations. The wings, for example, are produced in Great Britain. The tail is made in Spain. The cockpit comes from France and the main body is built in Germany. These and other parts are all put together in France. Then the aeroplanes are flown to Germany, for final outfitting and painting before they are ready to carry passengers. This is very unusual for manufacturers. Usually, a manufacturer produces everything from one factory in one location.

3. The company takes pride in continuously improving its product line. EADS’s newest aircraft, the Airbus A380, is the most innovative aircraft in the world and it is being tested in 2004. This aircraft is expected to revolutionize air travel when it begins carrying passengers in 2006. It is an environmentally friendly, low noise jet airplane that is full of high technology from cockpit to tail. Its two levels can hold up to 800 passengers. It will be able to fly 15,000 kilometers non-stop. The dimensions of the A380 are: a length of 73 metres, a height of 24 metres and a wingspan of...
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