II Study Trip to Airbus Toulouse, Febuary 27/28, 2019

Toulouse, France

“You win or you learn.” – with these words Airbus’ Head of Urban Air Mobility, Eduardo Dominguez Puerta marks the great spirit of the II. Field Trip to Airbus Headquarters from February 27-28, with many inspiring discussions, with an (even more) inspiring team of Global Bridges members, young leaders and friends.

Apart from the many different impressions, it was nice to see how old and new friends came together and professional contacts were made during these two days – all in a confidential, inspiring and familiar atmosphere.

Wednesday 27 February.

After everybody had arrived in Toulouse, our Fieldtrip kicked off with a visit to Airbus Defence & Space – Satellite Manufacturing, Integration & Testing site, where we learned all about satellite final assembly and how satellite structures are tested to ensure survivability during launch, deployment, and long-term operation in space. That same day on the coast of French Guiana the Arianespace Soyuz rocket successfully launched, carrying the first six satellites for internet start-up OneWeb. OneWeb, backed by among others Airbus, Virgin and satellite telecom provider Hughes, is building a 650-satellite constellation in low Earth orbit, providing telecommunications and internet services around the world.

We also visited the Airbus Commercial Aircraft Mock-up Centre, where we were warmly welcomed by Maria Granero-Paris, Head of Airbus Defence & Space Engineering Services Procurement and Young Leader alumna, and Eduardo Dominguez Puerta. Maria explained to us the diversity of Airbus, its global presence and strength through international collaborations. Eduardo gave us a tour through the A380, A350 and A330 aircraft in the Airbus Mock-up centre. We were all curious to learn from Eduardo and discussed in depth a variety of topics with him: from Airbus’ decision on ceasing A380 deliveries in 2021 (“You win or you learn”) to Guillaume Faury taking over for Dr. Thomas Enders CEO of Airbus, to future transport concepts and urban mobility.

Closing the first day, Dr. Klaus Richter, Airbus Chief Procurement Officer, accompanied by Dr. Tom Enders, Airbus CEO and Young Leader alumnus, welcomed us in the restaurant La Vie en Rose for a very nice Toulousian diner.

When Dr. Tom Enders gave his speech about how Airbus has grown into what it is today, everybody cheered. We are naturally all extremely proud of Dr. Enders, his team and this great accomplishment.

Thursday 28 February.

On the second day we continued our field trip with a morning visit to A350 Final Assembly Line. The Airbus A350 XWB is a family of long-range, twin-engine wide-body jet airliners and Airbus first aircraft with both fuselage and wing structures made primarily of carbon fibre reinforced polymer. Competing with Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner and 777, about 110 A350 aircraft are built per year.

Eduardo Dominguez Puerta presented Airbus Urban Mobility concept. Voom, the Airbus on-demand helicopter booking platform, is currently operating in São Paulo and Mexico City. Voom is one of the various Airbus’ Urban Air Mobility activities which range from air traffic management to infrastructure development, including partnership building and pilot projects. It also steers the development of Airbus’ ongoing eVTOL (electric vertical take-off & landing) demonstrators, such as Vahana and CityAirbus.

After lunch at Airbus’ VIP restaurant “Le Club”, we concluded the II. Field Trip to Airbus Headquarters with a visit to the beautiful Aeroscopia Museum, a reference for aviation museums of the world, featuring legendary planes such as the Airbus A300B and two of the 20 ever built Concorde airliners.

Home away from home

With so many Global Bridges Members and Young Leaders Alumni having ties to Airbus, it is clear that Global Bridges will continue to maintain very close contact with Airbus and this will be much endorsed by Dr. Tom Enders.

During these two days it was very nice to see close friendships and professional connections coming together in a trustful, inspiring and familiar atmosphere.

Marie Koekenberg