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The Current Trading Environment of Airbus


Airbus is a manufacturer of aircraft, spacecraft, and military technologies. The company operates in the aerospace industry, in particular in the sectors of commercial aircraft, defense and aerospace systems, civil and military helicopters. This paper provides a brief company history, current situation overview, internal and external analysis, evaluates challenges, and identifies future directions. For the analysis, the official website of the company and publicly available resources with data on the company’s activities were used.

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Company History

Airbus is the largest aircraft manufacturer in the world and was formed by the merger of several European aircraft manufacturers in the late 1960s. Headquartered is located in Blagnac, a suburb of Toulouse, France. The first memorandum on the launch of the A300 was signed in 1967. Great Britain, Germany, and France took part in its development, but later all rights were transferred to France, and later Great Britain rejects to finance the project.

However, the head of the British company Hawker-Siddeley continues to fund the development of improved models and is collaborating with Sud-Aviation. In 1970, Sud-Aviation and Nord-Aviation merged into the aerospace giant – Aerospatiale, and almost a year later, Aerospatiale and Deutsche Airbus create Airbus Industrie. In 1970, Air France ordered 6 A300B2 aircraft (one of the A300 modifications), which was Airbus’ first commercial order. To date, Airbus has been producing and developing aircraft, including the newest A380 launched in 2018, and is also involved in the development of space and defense technologies.

Current Situation

Airbus primarily manufactures commercial aircraft, including airplanes and helicopters. The company is engaged in the manufacturing and sale of passenger aircraft, corporate jets, and freighter aircraft (Commercial aircraft, n. d.).

Additionally, Airbus provides aircraft maintenance and upgrade services, training, flight and airport operations (Commercial aircraft, n. d.). The company manufactures both civil and military helicopters as well as helicopter maintenance services, material management, technical support, and training (Helicopters, n. d.). Airbus also manufactures military aircraft for the defense complex and is involved in the development of advanced military defense equipment and military communication (Defence, n. d.). Additionally, the company is involved in the development and production of space satellites (Space, n. d.). The company operates in several markets: commercial aircraft, defense and aerospace systems, civil and military helicopters.

Guillaume Faury is the Chief Executive Officer of Airbus since 2019; Dominik Asam is the Chief Financial Officer since 2019. The company is owned by Airbus Group; 10.9% of shares are owned by the Government of France; 10.9% of shares are owned by Capital Research & Management Co. (World Investors) (Airbus SE (AIR), n. d.). The whole entity is divided into three distinct divisions: the Airbus, the Airbus Defense & Space, and the Airbus Helicopters. Organizational structure is presented by:

  1. The Board of Directors (maximum of 12 members; has an active role in management);
  2. Chief Executive Officer;
  3. Chairman;
  4. Executive Committee;
  5. Other Management Committees;
  6. The Audit Committee;
  7. The Remuneration, Nomination, and Governance Committee.

Internal Analysis

The company strives not only for quality and innovative manufacturing but also to achieve its mission and adhere to values. Airbus has six core values: teamwork, reliability, creativity, respect, integrity, and customer focus (Our values, n. d.). The mission of the company is: “Airbus is an international pioneer in the aerospace industry. We are a leader in designing, manufacturing and delivering aerospace products, services and solutions to customers on a global scale. We aim for a better-connected, safer and more prosperous world” (Airbus mission, vision & values, n. d.). The company’s resources include innovative materials, vast capital, and a large workforce. Competencies of the company include research and development, the creation of innovative materials and techniques.

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The Board of Directors, headed by René Obermann, runs the management of the company and has decision-making power. The Chief Executive Officer is endowed with executive authority and is responsible for the success of the company. Airbus also appoints the Head of Strategy, Mergers & Acquisitions and Public Affairs, who is subordinate to the Chief Executive Officer. The company’s stakeholders are shareholders, suppliers, airport authorities, military authorities, higher management, employees, society, competitors, airline companies, government, passengers, media. Airbus is the world’s largest aircraft and space technology manufacturer, working with the government and the military as well as commercial customers. Thus, the circle of Airbus stakeholders is extremely wide and affects the public interest.

External Analysis

Airbus PESTLE analysis

  1. Political factors. For a company in the aerospace defense industry, political stability is important since it provides laws governing its activities. There is a global trend towards strengthening security measures in the world, which increases the demand for defense products. However, Airbus cannot move its production outside the European Union to make it cheaper. Additionally, the company’s operation may be affected by the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. It is also important to note the impact of Brexit on Airbus’s operations as a European company.
  2. Economic factors. A significant part of the company’s duration is accounted for by commercial aircraft, the demand for which depends on the success of the airlines. However, the global pandemic of 2021 has caused the company more than a billion dollars in losses, which it hopes to cover after the pandemic ends (Charlton, 2021). The economic stability of the sector is also influenced by fluctuations in exchange rates and fuel prices.
  3. Social factors. Airbus has a reputation for being innovative and reliable, and people are increasingly inclined towards air travel as a fast and safe mode of transport.
  4. Technological factors. Airbus constantly invests in the research and development of innovative materials and technologies, which is the basis of the business in the aerospace industry. The company needs to pay more attention to the development of renewable energy sources, as this is a worldwide trend. Moreover, it is necessary to reduce the mass of aircraft and the power of the engines, which is constantly occurring. Digitization is also an important aspect of operating in today’s aerospace sector.
  5. Legal factors. With regard to the legal basis, attention should be paid to the protection of intellectual property. Import and export laws in operating areas are also significant.
  6. Environmental factors. Airbus, as an innovative company, focuses on the development of renewable energy sources and the reduction of carbon emissions.

2020 has been a difficult year for the aerospace industry due to the pandemic, but revenue will recover in 2021. However, the recovery is likely to be uneven as the commercial aircraft sector has been hit hard during the pandemic. Thus, the return to usual volumes will be rather slow, as companies in the industry have suffered significant losses. The defense sector has not experienced serious economic damage, so its development will be stable. Major Airbus competitors are Boeing, Bombardier, Lockheed Martin, Gulfstream Aerospace, and General Dynamics. Despite the significant competition, the company remains the market leader with a wide market presence. Compared to other companies in the industry, Airbus has more reliable clients and partners and is also involved in more sectors.


  1. Opportunities. First of all, the company has significant opportunities to enter the market of developing countries. For example, India has recently been actively developing its aerospace industry and could cooperate with the company. Airbus may also pay more attention to the development of unmanned aerial vehicles and systems based on them. The main opportunity of the company is global leadership in the defense and space sector. Although the area is currently highly competitive and occupied by competent companies, Airbus could focus on increasing its presence in the region.
  2. Threats. The most significant threat in the modern world is cybersecurity risks with the development of digitalization. The difficult economic situation in the industry can affect the competitiveness of the company. Airbus is also heavily dependent on suppliers, which is a major threat.

The driving force for the development of the company is currently participating in the development of renewable energy sources and reducing the use of fossil fuels. Additionally, the increased interest in space exploration and exploration will allow the company to focus on the development of satellites and space equipment. Innovations in military technology also highlight the importance of developing unmanned vehicles and systems. These aspects will influence the development of the company in the coming years.

Future Directions

Over the long term, Airbus has a leading aircraft design portfolio that should continue to be maintained. However, the company does not currently have an active commercial aircraft R&D program that could put Airbus at risk in the sector. With regard to the defense sector, Airbus needs to cooperate with national governments to acquire military programs actively. Currently, most of the company’s once-popular military products are not in demand, including helicopters and A400M transport aircraft. The company also needs to pay attention to strengthening relationships with suppliers by offering better terms. The company should also pay attention to cooperation with new customers such as developing countries. The long-term priority direction of development is the development of innovative energy resources since leadership in this area will allow the company to become the owner of exclusive technologies.

Reference List

Airbus mission, vision & values (n. d.). Web.

Airbus SE (AIR) (n. d.). Web.

Charlton, A. (2021) Airbus lost $1.3 billion amid pandemic; expects better 2021. Web.

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Commercial aircraft (n. d.). Web.

Defence (n. d.). Web.

Helicopters (n. d.). Web.

Our values (n. d.). Web.

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