At a turning point in the development of Airbus, its leaders determined that the organization had become more than a loose consortium known as “groupement d'interet economique” (GIE), and Airbus was transformed into a proper company (“societe anonyme,” or S.A.) in the immediate aftermath of the formal A380 launch decision in 2001.
Franco-Italian turboprop manufacturer ATR may soon undergo this transformation, too, for similar reasons. ATR is lobbying its shareholders to build a 90-seat aircraft, but to afford the project, the company must resolve inefficiencies in its structure.
ATR is a joint venture of the Airbus Group and Alenia Aermacchi, which are also its most important suppliers: Wings for the ATR 72 and 42 are built at Airbus Group subsidiary Sogerma in Bordeaux, France; the fuselage and tailplane come from Alenia in Naples. As Airbus learned in the 1990s, interests often do not align when shareholders are suppliers. Suppliers want maximum revenue per unit delivered, while shareholders want minimum cost.