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Roger Béteille (28 August 1921 – 14 June 2019) was a French aeronautical engineer and businessman. Regarded as one of the founding fathers of the company, he is known for his contributions towards Airbus, which contributed towards the airline company's initial success.[1][2] He also worked for Air France, Lufthansa, United, TWA and American Airlines.

Roger Béteille
Roger Beteille airbus 1970.jpg
Béteille in 1985
Born(1921-08-21)21 August 1921
Died14 June 2019(2019-06-14) (aged 97)
EducationÉcole Polytechnique
OccupationAeronautical engineer, businessman
Years active1952–1984
Known forContributions towards Airbus
Spouse(s)Josette Jasmin
AwardsLudwig Prandtl Ring (1986)


Early lifeEdit

Béteille was born in Vors, Aveyron, France.[3] After graduating from École Polytechnique, he chose the Corps de l'armement and studied at Supaéro and at the Centre des hautes études de l'armement (CHEAr).[4]


In 1952, he joined Sud-Aviation in Toulouse where he held senior posts: Head of Flight Testing (1952 to 1957), Head of Rockets and Satellites division (1957 to 1967)[5] and the deputy technical director and A300 programme manager.[6] He also played a decisive role in the "Armagnac" and "Caravelle" programmes.[3]

He was one of the key players in the formation of the European Airbus consortium.[7] Béteille had spent time listening to airlines such as Air France and Lufthansa, as well as visiting U.S. airlines such as United, TWA and American Airlines.[2] He also decided that English should be the working language and that measurements should not be metric because most airlines already had American-built aircraft.[8]

Béteille in 1972

A large part of the initial success of Airbus can be traced back to Béteille, whose nickname was Mister Airbus.[1] His contributions include the "Airbus fuselage" – the 222-in fuselage cross section with the ability to carry two LD-3 freight containers – and the basic work-share agreement of the various partners in Airbus.[1][9][10]

Béteille purchased Super Guppy transport aircraft to bring the pieces of the aircraft to its final assembly point in Toulouse.[11][12] He long served as the company's chief operating officer and was regarded as one of the founding fathers, along with Henri Ziegler and Felix Kracht.[2][13]

In 1983, he became a founding member of the French Académie de l'air et de l'espace (AAE).[14] He retired in March 1984.[15]

Personal lifeEdit

Béteille was awarded the Ludwig Prandtl Ring from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Luft- und Raumfahrt (German Society for Aeronautics and Astronautics) in 1986.[16] The Final Assembly Building for the Airbus A350 in Toulouse is named after him.[17]

Béteille was married to opera singer Josette Jasmin and the two lived in Cannes and on the Midi.[18]

He died on 14 June 2019, at age 97.[19]


  1. ^ a b c Karl Morgenstern, Jan Schulz, " L'histoire d'Airbus: une équipe européenne, un succès mondial. Ce sont des pionniers, réalistes dans l’action et visionnaires dans la pensée tels que Roger Beteille « Monsieur Airbus », qui ont permis, finalement, de réaliser cette idée européenne de l’aviation. », 26 juillet 2004, dans Deutschland magazine Archived 2008-04-02 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b c "DAY 20". AirBus. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Roger Béteille". AcademieAirespace. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  4. ^ "L'Aveyronnais Roger Béteille, père fondateur du consortium Airbus industrie" (in French). Cebtre Presse Aveyron. 28 April 2019.
  5. ^ "Airbus: 50 years of an industry giant". Airliner Watch. May 29, 2019.
  6. ^ "Airbus supplement: Personalityfile". Flight Global. 29 October 1997.
  7. ^ History of EADS: Roger Béteille, one of the founding fathers of the Airbus Industrie
  8. ^ "The Airbus A380: A History". Google Books. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  9. ^ "Airbus supplement: A320 family". Flight Global. 29 October 1997.
  10. ^ "Finnair's First Airbus A350 Takes Shape". Ainonline. 16 December 2014.
  11. ^ "Airbus A300 the beginnings of Airbus". Modern Airliners. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  12. ^ "Airbus: Problems of Success". The Washington Post. 1 July 1979.
  13. ^ "Gold class: Airbus is flying high at 50". The West Australian. 31 May 2019.
  14. ^ "Académie de l'air et de l'espace: ANNALES 2016" (PDF) (in French). Académie de l'air et de l'espace. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  15. ^ "The Airbus A360: A History". Google Books. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  16. ^ "MITTEILUNGEN 3/2002. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Luft- und Raumfahrt - Lilienthal-Oberth e.v." (in German). DocPlayer. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  17. ^ Airbus Scramble, Aviation Week and Space Technology, October 29, 2012, p.24
  18. ^ Kenny Kemp. "Flight Of The Titans: Boeing, Airbus and the battle for the future of air travel". Google Books. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  19. ^ "Décès de Roger Béteille, père-fondateur d'Airbus" (in French). Le Figaro. Retrieved 15 June 2019.

External linksEdit