Pan-European aerospace and defence group EADS is set to ditch its old identity and become the 'Airbus Group' in 2014 in rebranding and restructuring changes. Commentary and analysis on this corporate move. [caption id="attachment_8438" align="alignnone" width="376"] In 2014, the Airbus name will now spearhead all the groups sales.[/caption] The news that EADS is to rebrand in the new year to the Airbus Group no doubt brings relief in some quarters from those habitually mispronouncing it as ‘EEEEDS’ rather than ‘E Ay D S’. Phonetic flippancy aside, this renaming and its associated restructuring confirms and strengthens the group’s trajectory from European state job-creation scheme to a truly global competitive enterprise. Renaming it as Airbus might seem a case of ‘the tail wagging the dog’ but the truth is that the civil airliner business now makes up some two-thirds of its revenues. Part of this has been down to the inexorable growth in air transport, which has so far weathered 9/11, SARS and the global economic downturn to allow Airbus and rival Boeing to build up record orders and backlogs. In comparison, the western defence market, dominated by the US, is in a period of retrenchment and flat sales growth, at least for the foreseeable future. Airbus, therefore, with its products operating everywhere from Beijing to Rio de Janerio, from Dubai to Cape Town is now a huge brand, with global connections, marketing power and public recognition. Interestingly the organisational revamp with EADS’s defence, security and space divisions to merge under one roof as 'Airbus Defence and Space', mirrors the corporate set-up of arch rival Boeing. However, there is perhaps one oddity in this shake-up, that of renaming Eurocopter to 'Airbus Helicopters'. Eurocopter is already a global brand in its own right, and its ‘Euro’ prefix proved no barrier in penetrating the US market – even to the extent of winning Pentagon contracts in a highly protected market. Losing this recognisable name perhaps is less understandable. However, again there are precedents from across the Atlantic. Tandem helicopter pioneer Vertol (formerly Piasecki), for example, has long disappeared into Boeing. With civil airliner factories in China, and soon to be in the US, and a worldwide footprint from the whole group, the ‘European’ in EADS was looking increasingly archaic and old-fashioned. The ‘Airbus Group’ facelift then consolidates the company around its best-known and most successful civil aeronautics division and in the words of chief Tom Enders, reinforces the company’s message: ‘we make things fly’. [caption id="attachment_8439" align="alignnone" width="403"] The organisation revamp will see Cassidian and Astrium disappear into 'Airbus Defence and Space' while Eurocopter will become 'Airbus Helicopters' (EADS)[/caption] .  

Tim Robinson
9 August 2013