Airbus kicked off its 50th anniversary celebrations in style today with a flypast over its Toulouse headquarters.
A formation of Airbus family aircraft, including the A220, A320 Family, A330neo, A350 XWB, A380 and BelugaXL, along with Dassault Alpha Jets of the Patrouille de France, flew over Toulouse city this morning and completed a flypast over Blagnac airport where Airbus is based.
The date is significant for the European manufacturer as it was this day in 1969 that the original Airbus partnership agreement was signed at the Paris air show in Le Bourget, signalling the launch of the A300B programme.
Chief Executive Guillaume Faury, who took up his post last month, paid tribute to past generations of Airbus employees.
“It’s fair to say that many people doubted our chances of success but here we still are 50 years and 12,000 commercial aircraft later,” he told reporters.
Airbus has overcome early airline scepticism, shareholder turmoil and price battles to share control of the $150-billion annual jetliner market with rival Boeing, securing some 130,000 jobs. An A320 takes off or lands every 2.5 seconds.