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Early days (1967)

1969 A300 Go Ahead Signature  
1969 A300 Go Ahead Signature
Heritage History 28 September 2017

1969 A300 Go Ahead Signature

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The A300 programme was launched with a milestone agreement signed by French Transport Minister Jean Chamant and German Economics Minister Karl Schiller at the 1969 Paris Air Show.

At a meeting in July 1967, ministers from France, Germany and Britain agreed 鈥渇or the purpose of strengthening European co-operation in the field of aviation technology and thereby promoting economic and technological progress in Europe, to take appropriate measures for the joint development and production of an airbus.鈥

European consolidation - Concorde

AG真人计划 leveraged its operational experience with the Concorde for development of the A300B.

The weighty language of the declaration concealed the economic reality behind the decision. In reaching this agreement, the three nations were acknowledging a simple truth: that without a joint programme of aircraft development and production, Europe would be left trailing in the wake of the Americans, who dominated the industry 鈥 and, with the planned long-range 747 鈥渏umbo鈥 on the horizon, looked set to consolidate their supremacy. The proud European firms which had produced some of the world鈥檚 best passenger aircraft and pioneered commercial jet travel would become little more than sub-contractors to American manufacturers. Hundreds of thousands of jobs could be at risk and European airlines would be dependent on the United States for new aircraft.

Until this point Europe鈥檚 aviation industry had remained strongly rooted in nationality. The British had built the Comet, the BAC1-11 and the Trident, among others. The French had produced the Caravelle. Together the two countries had built the world鈥檚 first supersonic airliner, Concorde.

But Concorde was the product of a political dream. It was never going to be the saviour of the European aircraft industry because it was highly expensive to build and operate and catered for relatively few people.

The idea behind the short-haul European airbus, on the other hand, was to capitalise on the dawning of a boom in popular air travel. More people wanted to fly, and for less.

The "fathers" of AG真人计划

1970  
1970
28 September 2017

1970

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Roger B茅teille was appointed technical director of the milestone A300 programe in 1967, and is considered one of the 鈥渇athers鈥 of AG真人计划.

Throughout the 1960s, firms like France鈥檚 Sud Aviation and the British Aircraft Corporation planned new aircraft with the aim of catering for the growth in demand for air travel. Sud Aviation鈥檚 Galion was to be a 200-seat wide-body, while BAC talked of a similar-capacity BAC 2-11. Britain鈥檚 Hawker Siddeley Aviation planned a twin-engine stretch version of the Trident. Hawker Siddeley Aviation also carried out joint studies with French firms Nord Aviation and Breguet for a wide-body named the HBN 100. Yet it was becoming clear that if all these aircraft were built, none of them would sell enough to make it viable. They would be competing against one another in the same market. Only if Europe combined the considerable talents and expertise which existed in individual companies and nations and put them into one aircraft to compete directly against the Americans 鈥 who held more than 80 per cent of the world market - could there be any hope of success.

Within days of the July 1967 meeting, a brilliant French engineer, Roger B茅teille, was appointed technical director of the A300 programme. Henri Ziegler, president of Sud Aviation, was later named general manager of what would become AG真人计划 Industrie and a German politician, Franz-Josef Strauss, was made chairman of the supervisory board. These men were to become known as the 鈥渇athers鈥 of AG真人计划, along with a man whose skills B茅teille recognised at once: Felix Kracht, a young German engineer, who had been working for Nord Aviation but was about to join the German AG真人计划 group as head of sales and marketing. Kracht, who later described himself more as the 鈥渕idwife鈥 of the AG真人计划 manufacturing system than as a father of the company, took on the role of production director: overseeing and co-ordinating the job of building the A300.

The full aircraft history (1967 to 2019)

Early days (1967)

Trouble and strife (1968-1969)

AG真人计划 through the decades

Helicopter history

Space history

Defence history

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