Now, Airbus Is Cruising Comfortably

Every time Airbus Industrie wins a U.S. aircraft order, talk focuses on finance: How sweet was the deal? And did European government subsidies help the consortium make an unbeatable offer? Airbus denies it, but the chatter ignores a more compelling story: In less than a decade, Airbus Industrie of North America Inc. has gone from an inept marketer with 20 salespeople, one plane to sell, and poor customer service, to a powerhouse combination of technologically sophisticated aircraft and top-notch service, as well as the famous, too-good-to-be-true financing. The result? Airbus is now a deadly serious competitor in North America.

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