In-depth case studies : from Concorde to Airbus : case study report - Study
Both Concorde and Airbus are international initiatives aimed at improving the competitiveness of the European aircraft manufacturing. The former, Concorde, was the first supersonic transport passenger-carrying commercial airplane, built jointly by aircraft manufacturers in France and the United Kingdom. The collaboration was launched by the signature of a bilateral agreement in 1962 to share costs and risks in producing an SST, with the first prototype produced 10 years later and the first routes inaugurated in 1976. The manufactured aircrafts were procured by the respective state-owned... airline companies, British Airways and Air France. Their Concorde fleets flaw to destinations all over the world, mostly on transoceanic routes. Due to financial unviability, which hampered its uptake by other airline companies, and the fatal crash of 2000, Concorde operations were finally ceased in 2003. Airbus is a consortium established in 1964 of European aerospace manufacturers, set up by the French, English and German governments and was founded to compete with the American aircraft manufacturers. Its origins trace back to the late 1960s, when the British, French, German decided to foster collaboration between their respective aircraft manufacturers for the development and manufacturing of planes for short- to medium-range and high-capacity airlines. In comparison to Concorde, Airbus has a much stronger market orientation and a strategy much more attentive to the needs of airline companies (beyond Europe) which may be potential purchasers. Nowadays, Airbus is a private company involving British, French, German and Spanish partners. The first aircraft available under the Airbus brand was the A300, in 1972. Since then, the increase in orders has been exponential. In time the Group has become on the world’s top two commercial aircraft manufacturers, competing directly with the American Boeing Company. This case study explores both initiatives, their overall context, implementation and main impacts from the perspective of mission-oriented research and innovation policy.