Airbus began as a consortium of aerospace manufacturers, Airbus Industrie. Consolidation of European defence and aerospace companies in 1999 and 2000 allowed the establishment of a simplified joint-stock company in 2001, owned by EADS (80%) and BAE Systems (20%). After a protracted sales process BAE sold its shareholding to EADS on 13 October 2006. The company now employs about 52,000 people at 16 sites in 4 European countries - France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain. The main products are airliners, including military airlift aircraft.
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