The pan-European aircraft manufacturer and aerospace giant Airbus is celebrating its 50th birthday and even its biggest rival, Seattle-based Boeing is marking the occasion with a sweet (and just a little cheeky) video as a way of sending its best regards.
Airbus was formed on this day back in 1969 when the French Minister of Transport, Jean Chamant and the German Minister of Economic Affairs, Karl Schiller signed an agreement to develop the A300.
The first Airbus model was also the world’s first wide-body, twin-engine airliner designed for medium-haul travel. The name actually derived from Airbus’ intention for it to seat 300 passengers – during development, that passenger count had to be lowered to 250 but the name stuck and has since been used to form the name of all future Airbus models (with exception of the A220, of course, but we can excuse that little hiccup).
While Airbus was initially created as a joint project between the French and German governments, the Brits later joined the party and now parts for various Airbus models are manufactured across Europe. The company’s headquarters may well be in Toulouse but the aircraft manufacturer supports hundreds of thousands of jobs across the Continent.
And as Airbus has grown so has it’s presence – there are also manufacturing plants in both the United States and China.
It’s always a close call as to whether Airbus or Boeing is leading the race for customers and Boeing has certainly won more orders than Airbus in recent years – but as we’ve seen with the 737 MAX woes, life is full of unexpected turns.
Airbus has been careful not to gloat at Boeing’s misfortunes – especially in light of the human tragedy. But it also looks like there is some real respect between the aerospace giants. Boeing has even created a special video congratulating Airbus on its birthday, telling its biggest competitor “we’re glad you’re here”.
The video is… unusual but it does follow in a tradition of sorts between the two rivals.