The move to drop the acronym EADS for Airbus Group is being made out by some media to be a major step that better positions Airbus to compete with Boeing. This is a stretch.
The name change simply reflects reality: Airbus is the dominate member of the company. It also does away with the acronym, which many people mispronounced as “eeeds” rather than how it was supposed to be said (E-A-D-S, like I-B-M) that reflects an awkward name, European Aeronautic Defense and Space, a name so awkward it doesn’t readily appear on the EADS website.
A name change has really been thought about for years. On one trip to Toulouse, in 2009, we had a discussion then with Airbus personnel and the topic came up. We favored the Airbus name for the enterprise then–not that our opinion had anything to do with the action four years later :-).
More significant is the continued direction by CEO Tom Enders to move away from the government influence that first was instrumental in the growth of the enterprise but then became an albatross with jobs and prestige programs trumping business decisions (think A400M engine, the A380 [the product of 747 envy] and assembly locations). The volatile topic of government subsidies, necessary in the beginning and conceptually little different than the early days of US defense and commercial aviation, evolved into “reimbursable launch aid” that is unnecessary for a company like Airbus and which remains a target of international controversy when politics arise.
We welcome the change and the continued evolution of Airbus into a true commercial enterprise. Tom Enders will leave a legacy that will make him one of the most significant figures in global aerospace.
Meantime, EADS today announced its first half financial results.