On Dec. 19, 2000, Jean-Luc Lagardere, co-chairman of the newly formed EADS, stood in front of a big crowd in Toulouse where he and his German colleague Manfred Bischoff had just announced the launch of the biggest commercial aircraft ever—the A380. “We will achieve superior profitability,” Lagardere confidently predicted. And Bischoff said with equal certainty: “There is a sufficient market” for the aircraft that would transform air transport much like the ...


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