claims, "We began by filing a gap and ended up dominating the
market." Thirty years ago, the pioneers who started Airbus thought
they had a new approach to the airliner market. They looked at the
market and saw that existing manufacturers had not listened to either
the passengers' or the operators' demands. There was a niche to be
filled: a short-to medium-range aircraft that had the operating
economics of a twin-engine aircraft and the ability to carry 250 to 300
passengers in comfort.
They also started with a considerable advantage. European aircraft
builders had a proven track record of innovation that was second to
none. The first jetliner, the first turbojet engine, the first
successful supersonic airliner had all originated in Europe. All they
lacked was the financial muscle of the USA.
Because no single European manufacturer had the resources to overcome
the U.S. giants, a consortium of European aircraft manufactures was
established. By putting aside chauvinism, by sharing development
costs, by deciding to compromise in the interests of a greater market
share, by even agreeing a common set of measurements and a common
language, the new consortium brought airlines, passengers and aircrew
the benefits of real competition.
models of three of its most popular aircraft