How Airbus struggled to sell its first aircraft

Half a century on from Airbus Industrie’s founding, Key.Aero recounts the airframer’s first steps on its road to the top and speaks with Barbara Kracht, a 35-year Airbus veteran to find out how the venture nearly failed at the first hurdle

As Concorde and the Boeing 747 rubbed shoulders for the first time at the 1969 Paris Air Show, Jean Chamant, then French Minister of Transport, and Karl Schiller, Germany’s Minister of Economic Affairs, launched a pan-European widebody aircraft programme. While astronaut Neil Armstrong’s ‘one small step’ was still some months away, Chamant and Schiller were taking a giant leap into the unknown.  

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