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The Airbus story

Since the 40s, the US monopoly is due to the symbiosis between government and industry regarding civil projects during and after the Second World War. Boeing, Lockheed and MacDonnell Douglas dominated the whole business, supported by various government agencies with substantial funding for research and development. While European airlines are operating 25 percent of the global airline fleet, the European aircraft manufacturer' share of the global market only amounts to ten percent. 85 percent of all commercial aircraft are made in the United States; five percent are built in the rest of the world.

In de mid of 60s, it becomes more and more urgent for the industrial decision-makers to react face to this situation and French and British governments are aware of the dangers of the US dominance. So, they recognised that the path of avoiding a US monopoly can only lead to inner European co-operation.
First contacts between the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC), Hawker Siddeley Aviation and the French Aviation Industry, North-Aviation, Breguet Aviation and Avions Marcel Dassault are made.
Finally, the HBN group is being formed with Hawker, Breguet and North Aviation. In the following time, French and British designers start to develop five design studies.
At the same time, the "Arbeitsgemeinschaft Airbus" (working group Airbus) is founded in Germany.
Signing a contract on December 23, 1965 ATG Siebel werke, Bolkow, Dornier, Flugzeug-union Sud, HFB, Messerschmitt andVFW commit themselves to be national partners in any future European program which is concerned with technology in the aviation industry....

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