June 17, 2013
Education: Advanced degrees from Ecole Polytechnique and the Ecole des Mines
Career: Joined Matra Defense in 1993 and within 10 years served as CEO of Matra BAe Dynamics and MBDA. He joined Eurocopter in 2003 and became Airbus's chief operating officer in 2006. He took the helm of the company in 2012.
Fabrice Bregier's first year as CEO of Airbus was intense. The A380 has been suffering from slow sales and a disruption in production related to wing modifications. Also, the A350 had to be prepared for first flight. Recently, airlines showed renewed confidence and are expected to place more orders than anticipated this year. Aviation Week & Space Technology's Managing Editor-Commercial Jens Flottau talked with Bregier in his Toulouse office.
AW&ST: The A350 is about to start its flight-test campaign. The schedule slipped again slightly last year because of a problem in automating wing assembly. How does the situation stand?
Bregier: Last year we set the target to fly in mid-2013, and we are on track for that. Extra work preparing the maturity of systems and the design early on, along with having the right people, resulted in this achievement. It is probably the first time a job like this has been done at this scale.
There was speculation that the A350 might run into the same kind of production problems as the A380. It did not. Why?
Lessons learned included: having everybody work with the same tools and processes; rigorously applying our focus on one milestone at a time; working on the digital mockup and managing the extended enterprise and our risk-sharing partners in a more transparent and collaborative way. We were trying to streamline the customization of the cabin in this aircraft.