Airbus Unveils Airbus Atlantic, An Aerostructures Powerhouse

Credit: Airbus/Stefan Kruijer

Airbus has unveiled Airbus Atlantic, a wholly owned subsidiary that starts off as the No. 2 aerostructures provider in the Western business world as measured by annual sales.

The new unit is a product of Airbus’ decision announced last April to reintegrate a large part of the aerostructures work into the core Airbus business strategy. The new brand groups Airbus’ French sites in Montoir-de-Bretagne and Nantes, as well as the central corporate functions associated with them, and Stelia Aerospace sites worldwide. 

Airbus Atlantic now oversees a network of more than 500 direct suppliers, providing flying products, and more than 2,000 indirect suppliers, or general procurement products, according to Airbus.

Airbus Atlantic’s mission is to drive competitiveness with the flexibility, speed, simplicity and agility of an aerostructure Tier-1, the company’s online literature says. 

The creation of the unit  comes as Airbus positions for future environmental concerns about aviation’s greenhouse gas emissions. “At the heart of Airbus, Airbus Atlantic aims at meeting the great challenges linked to a sustainable aviation industry, pioneering new technologies,” said Cédric Gautier, CEO of Airbus Atlantic.

With 13,000 staff in five countries across three continents, and an estimated business volume of around €3.5 billion ($4 billion), the subsidiary ostensibly is a peer to Spirit AeroSystems and GKN Aerospace, the independent aerostructure leaders. Beyond aerostructures, Airbus Atlantic is now top for pilot seats and ranks in the top three for business-class and first-class passenger seats, which continue to be marketed under the Stelia brand. Customers include Dassault Aviation, Bombardier and Airbus-Leonardo joint venture ATR.

Airbus Atlantic counts nine sites and subsidiaries in France and seven subsidiaries worldwide. Non-French facilities involved in formation of the subsidiary include Mirabel, Saint-Laurel and Lunenburg sites in Canada, Santo Tirso in Portugal, and locations in Tunis and Casablanca in North Africa.

In what marked a turnabout after years of a failed effort to sell them, Airbus management in April 2021 said that since most of what aerostructures subsidiaries Premium Aerotec and Stelia Aerospace do is so core to Airbus and its future, they should not be sold. Under the previous management team led by former CEO Tom Enders, Airbus had hoped to sell both Aerolia and Premium—much like Boeing sold Spirit in 2005. But the sales never happened, in part because demand dropped in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis and subsequent Great Recession.

But in the post-pandemic era, Airbus sees an opportunity to secure growth prospects via the aerostructure assets. “One of the strategic opportunities of this transformation is to successfully address the major aeronautical challenges to come: increased competition, rise in production rates, modernization of the industrial system and preparing for decarbonized aviation, applying new aerostructure architectures for the next generation of aircraft,” the company said on its website announcement.

The announcement came Jan. 3 although Airbus said Airbus Atlantic started Jan. 1.

Michael Bruno

Based in Washington, Michael Bruno is Aviation Week Network’s Executive Editor for Business. He oversees coverage of aviation, aerospace and defense businesses, supply chains and related issues.