Airbus is an aircraft manufacturing subsidiary of EADS, a European aerospace company. Based in Blagnac, France, a suburb of Toulouse, and with significant activity across Europe, the company produces approximately half of the world's jet airliners.
Airbus began as a consortium of aerospace manufacturers, Airbus Industrie. Consolidation of European defence and aerospace companies in 1999 and 2000 allowed the establishment of a simplified joint-stock company in 2001, owned by EADS (80 %) and BAE Systems (20 %). After a protracted sales process BAE sold its shareholding to EADS on 13 October 2006.
Airbus employs around 63,000 people at sixteen sites in four European Union countries: France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain. Final assembly production is based at Toulouse, France; Hamburg, Germany; Seville, Spain; and, since 2009, Tianjin, China. Airbus has subsidiaries in the United States, Japan, China and India.
Airbus Industrie was formally established as a Groupement d'Interet Économique (Economic Interest Group or GIE) on 18 December 1970. It had been formed by a government initiative between France, Germany and the UK that originated in 1967.
Its initial shareholders were the French company Aérospatiale and the German company Deutsche Airbus, each owning a 50 % share. The name "Airbus" was taken from a non-proprietary term used by the airline industry in the 1960s to refer to a commercial aircraft of a certain size and range, for this term was acceptable to the French linguistically.
Aérospatiale and Deutsche Airbus each took a 36.5 % share of production work, Hawker Siddeley 20 % and the Dutch company Fokker-VFW 7 %.