So for us at Stolcomfort it was something very special when two years ago Airbus – the world's biggest passenger aircraft manufacturer – placed the first order for our Svenstol® 24h chair. Airbus is a multinational consortium made up of several European aircraft manufacturers. It was founded in 1970 by the French Aérospatiale and Daimler-Benz Aerospace (DASA). Today Airbus employs around 28,000 staff in Germany alone and over 50,000 worldwide.
A single Airbus consists of several million components manufactured at many different production sites. The wings for all Airbus models are made in the UK while the fuselage parts come from France, Germany and Spain. The plant in the city of Stade in Lower Saxony manufactures and fits the vertical tailplanes for all Airbus series as well as different wings and fuselage parts. The plant's control centres require intense concentration on the part of staff – a challenge that our 24h chairs fully meet.
The jets are assembled to create complete aircraft in Hamburg, in Toulouse, France, in Mobile in the USA and in the Chinese city of Tianjin. And coordination grows increasingly complex with advancing growth. Two decades ago Airbus was still building around 100 aircraft a year. By 2017 this had risen to a good 700 and in 2019 the figure is expected to exceed 800.
The very first Airbus – the A300 – was already a major success in the early Seventies. Today, the far more advanced A300 is still very much in demand, and has helped make Airbus the world's largest aircraft manufacturer. The A320 occupies the undisputed top spot in the Airbus product range. When production began in 1988 they were only expecting to build 600 to 800 aircraft of this model. Since then the European aviation consortium has delivered 8,674 aircraft in the A320 series and there are also already over 4,000 orders for its successor, the A320neo. As at the end of 2018 a total of 11,343 aircraft had been built and supplied since the launch of Airbus. Just how very difficult it is to predict the demand for a new type of aircraft is illustrated by the fate of the Airbus A380, the world's largest passenger plane with capacity for up to 800 people. Production of the 73 metre long giant weighing 560 tonnes will be halted again in 2020 – after just 290 orders so far and only 14 years after the first plane was delivered, so decades before such a big project would normally come to an end. The market for the super jumbo has just not been strong enough despite growing passenger numbers, convincing technology and low running costs.
Incidentally – if you're looking to buy an Airbus you should budget for between 70 (A318) and 300 million Euro (A350) and expect to have to wait for around two years as that is the current lead time for an Airbus.