European aircraft manufacturer Airbus celebrated its 50th anniversary on Wednesday and marked the occasion with a spectacular fly-by of its suite of aircraft over its base in Toulouse, France.
Airbus was launched at a meeting between French and West German ministers in 1969, in a bid to revive struggling aircraft industries and seal post-war reconciliation.
The company invited Toulouse staff to the celebration where jetliners and the Patrouille de France display team performed the fly-by.
The gathering was small in size compared to its lavish launch of the A380 superjumbo back in 2005. Cost-cutting meant the celebration was a lot more homely and boutique.
Airbus knows better than anyone that the industry is more interested in smaller, more efficient aircraft rather than aircraft of size. It's had to put a hold on producing the iconic A380 while ramping up the production of the smaller A350.
Despite a turbulent decade for Airbus, it has overcome early airline scepticism, shareholder turmoil and price battles to share control of the $150-billion annual jetliner market with rival Boeing, securing some 130,000 jobs. To put this in perspective, an A320 takes off or lands somewhere in the world every two and a half seconds.