The article gives an overview of the history and progress of Airbus starting from its origins within the context of European aviation:
Sud-Aviation Caravelle (The article says that there was almost a deal for Douglas to build them.)
Hawker Siddeley Trident
The early politics and differing cultures of the companies make for interesting reading. It is indeed almost a miracle that Airbus survived, and that the different companies (and their governments) were able to reach some sort of working agreement. Some excerpts from the article that caught my eye:
"In 1974, Boeing vice president Jim Austin described the first Airbus product as "a typical government airplane. They'll build a dozen or so and then go out of business." He was almost right."
"Europe's national aircraft carriers started to work together (early 60's), but jealousies prevailed. The Germans had the money, but the English and French treated them like as metal benders, not partners."
"The name "Airbus" came from the Germans. The 300 matching the vehicle's seat capacity."
"Rolls-Royce backed out of the original engine specs for the larger RB
.207 (for the A300) to concentrate on the RB
.211 betting everything, including the UK government funding for the RB
.207, on the RB
.211 to win the TriStar business. This forced Sud to downsize the aircraft and use a spec written in 1966 by Frank Kolk, Chief Engineer at American Airlines. This resulted in the 250-seat airplane with 8 abreast instead of the original 300 seats with 9 abreast."
"The British Government walked out, but Hawker Siddeley remained as a subcontractor, and the French and German governments agreed to split the costs."
"Management was organized according to the same principle: Look at Concorde and do the opposite."
"The British encountered a different culture at the Airbus facility. At de Havilland's Hatfield division there were six levels of company dining. Airbus people took lunch in an all-ranks cafe. One senior executive stomped out in disgust."
"Before Airbus, the typical GIE was a wine-producing cooperative."
The article focuses a lot on Sud-Aviation engineer Roger Beteille who led the A300 design team and assembled the multi-nation team. He is credited with having the vision of an Airbus family of aircaft.
"When Beteille saw, after the A310, that the next European smaller jet would be an Airbus, he saw a problem with the new project: "I was so convinced that the 737 was so good there was no wasy to compete with it by doing the same thing." This led to his "very gutsy decision": The A320 would have fly-by-wire flight controls." The rest is history.
As stated originally, the article is a short history of Airbus and its aircraft, and not an A vs B analysis. There is only passing mention of Lockheed and Douglas. Naturally, the subsidy issues are discussed from both points of view. And the eventual development of the Airbus GIE into a listed company with transparent financials is described.
It is only on the last page near the end that the article finally says: "This year, Airbus, for the first time, is set to deliver more airplanes than Boeing. The U.S. company maintains that the A380 will be a flop and that the market for passenger versions of the aircraft is no more than 320 airplanes over 20 years."
Following is a link to the picture of the November cover:
Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. - A. Einstein