Airbus executive shake-up sees Mario Heinen heading up A380 as Charles Champion appointed special adviser to CEO Christian Streiff

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Airbus has named its current head of single aisle programmes, Mario Heinen, to lead the A380 programme as the European manufacturer works to overcome delays in the production ramp-up of the aircraft.

Heinen succeeds Charles Champion, who has been appointed special adviser to new Airbus chief, Christian Streiff. Champion has been head of the A380 programme since the start of 2001 and was last year named co-chief operating officer, a title he will no longer hold.

Current executive vice president (VP) and head of Airbus’s centres of excellence, Alain Flourens, succeeds Heinen as head of the single aisle programme.

Heinen and Flourens will both report to Tom Williams, whose role has been expanded as executive VP programmes to now cover all Airbus aircraft families including the A380.

There will be no direct replacement for Flourens’s former position, as the heads of Airbus’ centres of excellence will now report directly to executive VP operations Karl Heinz Hartmann.

The appointments are the first under new chief executive Streiff, who took the helm this summer in the wake of Airbus problems over delays in the ramp up of A380 production and as it was forced to reinvent its A350 offering.

Streiff says: “I would like to thank Charles Champion on behalf of all the employees at Airbus for his exceptional contribution to bring the A380 up to the final stages of certification. I’m pleased that he will continue to share his vast experience with us at Airbus in his new advisory role.”

Airbus notes Heinen’s appointment comes as the A380 moves from development and certification to the ramp-up of the series production. Airbus is still aiming to deliver the first A380 to launch customer Singapore Airlines by the year end.

Streiff adds: “In four years as head of the Airbus single aisle programme, Mario Heinen demonstrated great leadership and outstanding management capabilities in the extremely successful ramp-up of this programme. Under his watch, the A320 family smoothly obtained record series production results.

“Mario has strong support from Tom Williams, who has proven to be a courageous and decisive leader,” Streiff adds.

Airbus management is continuing work on a review of the A380 industrial situation and the preparation for the launch of the new A350. Streiff has reiterated his intention of reporting the findings by the end of September.