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Case Title:

Airbus: Flying High with A380

Publication Year : 2004

Authors: Siva Rama Krishna, T Phani Madhav

Industry: Aircrafts and Ship Building


Case Code: IPD0097

Teaching Note: Not Available

Structured Assignment: Not Available

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When the European consortium, Airbus Industrie (Airbus), announced the development of the world's biggest passenger plane - the A380 - on December 9 th 2000, many aviation experts wondered whether the consortium was taking a reckless gamble. Though the A380 was the most advanced, spacious and efficient aircraft ever conceived, assembling such a huge plane was considered as a technological feat involving huge complexity. Based on its prediction that there would be a huge demand for larger aircrafts in the future, Airbus took a calculated risk in manufacturing the A380 superjumbo. Airbus partnered with many manufacturers to help build and fund the A380. Analysts feel that if the A380 fails, it would become a crushing burden not only to the shareholders of Airbus but also for suppliers and European taxpayers, as they invested billions of dollars on this plane

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To discuss the reasons behind Airbus’ decision to introduce the A380 superjumbo
  • To discuss the reasons behind Airbus’ decision to introduce the A380 superjumbo

Keywords : Airbus Industrie; Airbus Consortium; Innovation Management Case Study; Relationship with suppliers; Supply chain management; Mission-critical systems; Composite materials; Assembling the A380; Manufacturing sites; Political considerations; Risk sharing partners; Goodrich and Rockwell Collins; Conditional agreements; Trade dispute


  • Introduction
  • Airbus industries
  • Airbus' relation with suppliers prior to a380 project
  • New technologies in a380

  • Assembling the a380
  • Financing the a380 project
  • Risk sharing partners and subcontractors
  • The stakes

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