AskDefine | Define airbus

Dictionary Definition

airbus n : a subsonic jet airliner operated over short distances

User Contributed Dictionary

see Airbus



air + bus


  1. A short, medium, or long-range subsonic jet airliner, especially a wide-bodied one.

Extensive Definition

Airbus S.A.S. ( in English,

Civilian products

The Airbus product line started with the A300, the world's first twin-aisle, twin-engined aircraft. A shorter, re-winged, re-engined variant of the A300 is known as the A310. Building on its success, Airbus launched the A320 with its innovative fly-by-wire control system. The A320 has been, and continues to be, a great commercial success. The A318 and A319 are shorter derivatives with some of the latter under construction for the corporate biz-jet market (Airbus Corporate Jet). A stretched version is known as the A321 and is proving competitive with later models of the Boeing 737.
The longer-range products, the twin-jet A330 and the four-engine A340, have efficient wings, enhanced by winglets. The Airbus A340-500 has an operating range of 16 700 kilometres (9000 nautical miles), the second longest range of any commercial jet after the Boeing 777-200LR (range of 17 446 km or 9420 nautical miles). The company is particularly proud of its use of fly-by-wire technologies and the common cockpit systems in use throughout the aircraft family, which make it much easier to train crew.
Airbus is studying a replacement for the A320 series, tentatively dubbed NSR, for "New Short-Range aircraft." Those studies indicated a maximum fuel efficiency gain of 9-10% for the NSR. Airbus however opted to enhance the existing A320 design using new winglets and working on aerodynamical improvements. This "A320 Enhanced" should have a fuel efficiency improvement of around 4-5%, shifting the launch of a A320 replacement to 2017-2018.
In July 2007, Airbus delivered its last A300 to FedEx, marking the end of the A300/A310 production line. Airbus intends to relocate Toulouse A320 final assembly activity to Hamburg, and A350/A380 production in the opposite direction as part of its Power8 organization plan begun under ex-CEO Christian Streiff.
Airbus supplied replacement parts and service for Concorde until its retirement in 2003.

Environmental Record

Airbus has joined Honeywell and JetBlue Airways in an effort to reduce pollution and dependence on oil. They are trying to develop a biofuel that could be used by 2030. The companies think it they could almost cover one third of the world’s airplane fuel need. A plan to create a biofuel that won’t affect food resources is the proposal. Algae is a possible alternative because it absorbs carbon dioxide, and it will not effect food production. However, algae and other vegetation are still just experiments, and algae is expensive to develop. Airbus recently had the first alternative fuel flight. It ran on 60 percent kerosene and 40 percent GTL. It did not cut carbon emissions, but it was free of sulphur emissions. Alternative fuel was able to work properly in Airbus's airplane engine, so alternative fuels should not cause a need for new airplane engines. This flight and the company's long term efforts are considered big strides towards environmentally friendly airplanes.

Competition with Boeing

Airbus is in tight competition with Boeing every year for aircraft orders. Though both manufacturers have a broad product range in various segments from single-aisle to wide-body, their aircraft do not always compete head-to-head. Instead they respond with models a bit smaller or a bit bigger than the other in order to plug any holes in demand and achieve a better edge. The A380, for example, is designed to be larger than the 747. The A350 XWB competes with the high end of the 787 and the low end of the 777. The A320 is bigger than the 737-700 but smaller than the 737-800. The A321 is bigger than the 737-900 but smaller than the previous 757-200. Airlines see this as a benefit since they get a more complete product range from 100 seats to 500 seats than if both companies offered identical aircraft.
In recent years the Boeing 777 has outsold its Airbus counterparts, which include the A340 family as well as the A330-300. The smaller A330-200 competes with the 767, outselling its Boeing counterpart in recent years. The A380 is anticipated to further reduce sales of the Boeing 747, gaining Airbus a share of the market in very large aircraft, though frequent delays in the A380 program have caused several customers to consider the refreshed 747-8. Airbus has also proposed the A350 XWB to compete with the fast-selling Boeing 787, after being under great pressure from airlines to produce a competing model.
There are around 4,867 Airbus aircraft in service, with Airbus managing to win over 50 per cent of aircraft orders in recent years. Airbus products are still outnumbered 6 to 1 by in-service Boeings (there are over 5,000 Boeing 737s alone in service). This however is indicative of historical success - Airbus made a late entry into the modern jet airliner market (1972 vs. 1958 for Boeing).
Airbus won a greater share of orders in 2003, 2004. It also delivered more aircraft in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007.
In 2005, Airbus made a claim to victory again with 1111 (1055 net), compared to 1029 (net of 1002) for Boeing However, Boeing won 55% of 2005 orders by value, due to that firm winning several important widebody sales at the expense of Airbus.
In 2006 Boeing won more orders by both measures. Airbus regained parity as of mid-2007.

Orders and deliveries

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