Airbus, a fanfare of the end of the year



The army to end the year with a bang. On Wednesday 22 December, Airbus received from the French government an order for 180 Guépard-type helicopters to be distributed between the land, air, navy and national gendarmerie armies. The construction and delivery – from 2027 – of the devices, i.e. a contract of 10 billion euros, delight the aeronautical sector, in particular on the side of Marignane (Bouches-du-Rhône), the headquarters of Airbus Helicopters.

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The subsidiary of the European aircraft manufacturer is getting in tune with a thunderous end of the year. In mid-November, at the Dubai Motor Show, Airbus took 408 orders, against 80 for Boeing. Thursday, December 16, the Australian company Qantas gave an agreement in principle for the purchase of 134 aircraft (40 firm, 94 optional). A few hours later, Air France / KLM placed an order for 160 planes, including 100 firm. And if Airbus succeeded in winning this exceptional contract, it is thanks to a broader product offering.

A wider product offer

On medium-haul flights – by far the most important market for aircraft manufacturers – Boeing has only its 737 MAX to offer, which was grounded for a long time following two air disasters. Airbus offers the A320 lineup, including the latest, the A321 Neo, which can carry more passengers than the 737 MAX while consuming less kerosene. “It corresponds to the needs of companies wishing to carry more passengers while their“ slots ” (take-off and landing slots, editor’s note) are limited in many airports, such as Orly or Schiphol, in Amsterdam ”, explains Arnaud Aymé, consultant at Sia Partners.

Airbus, which has more than 6,000 A320 family aircraft to deliver over the decade, will gradually ramp up: from 40 to 65 aircraft per month by 2023, 75 later. The group had known, with the health crisis, an air gap, forcing it to accelerate the elimination of 10,000 jobs in Europe, without layoffs, in particular thanks to early retirement.

“Government aid measures have saved jobs”, recalled the director of human resources of the group in September. To support the ramp-up of the A320 and while its workforce remains quite aging, Airbus anticipates that new hires will be “By the thousands over the next three years”.

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