Airbus is determined to usurp Boeing and become market leader in aircraft manufacturing. With Fabrice Brégier at the helm, there has never been a better time for the European giant to reach its goal
In the world of air travel, there are two titans battling it out for supremacy. Located on either side of the Atlantic, rival aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Airbus have always been open and rather candid about their ongoing fight for a greater share of the skies. In an interview with CNBC at the end of last year, Fabrice Brégier, President and CEO of Airbus, explained how competition with Boeing was indeed “fierce”, but then simultaneously attempted to play the rivalry down, saying: “We are not focused on that. Clearly, we have already more than 1,000 net [orders] this year, after a record year last year. We will be number one, or very close to number one.”
However, to say that he and the company that he leads are unconcerned with the performance of Boeing does not ring true. When there are only two real runners in a race, one is always looking over its shoulder, while the other is always hot on their heels. In fact, Airbus has come close to overtaking Boeing a couple of times, and even claimed to have accomplished the feat a few years ago, after it managed to achieve record sales and deliveries of aircraft. Sadly, Airbus was only able to best the competition for a brief period of time, and Boeing soon regained the title of king of the skies.
One thing, however, is clear, and that is that without the stewardship of Brégier, Airbus could have never made the substantial gains that it has, and if the company is ever to become number one, it will surely be under his leadership.
Fabrice Brégier CV
BORN 1961, France
EDUCATION Engineering, École Polytechnique
1983: After graduating from France’s prestigious École Polytechnique, Fabrice Bregier began his career as a test engineer at the Creys-Malville Superphénix nuclear plant.
1984: He soon swapped practical work for management, becoming a sales manager for French aluminium firm Pechiney, before taking on a number of governmental roles.
1993: Having gained significant leadership experience, Bregier joined Matra Défense, in charge of two major aerospace projects. In 1998, he became CEO of Matra BAe Dynamics.
2006: Having served as CEO at Eurocopter, he then joined Airbus as COO. After helping to reorganize the entire group, Bregier was appointed Airbus CEO in June 2012.
Airbus in numbers:
€60.7bn Revenue 2014
€2.34bn Profit 2014