In Toulouse, “Airbus Ville” frozen by the aeronautics crisis

By Anne Deguy

Posted today at 02:02

Andromède, a district of Blagnac, in the suburbs of Toulouse, on an autumn Friday. A light wind sweeps the fallen leaves on the main avenue, deserted. Sitting at a grinder serving as a table placed on a large terrace made of fine gravel, a thirty-something, alone, finishes his hamburger by licking his fork until it wears out. Dressed in black with, as the only touch of color, a red badge – the one that identifies the employees of Airbus subcontractors – the young man is a human task in this bare landscape.

Ten months ago, before the first confinement, the Andromeda eater could never have appeared in this Hopper-style painting. He would have been seated in this restaurant among hundreds of employees from the same aeronautical industry. In front of the bakery or caterers, surrounded by employees of Airbus, the engine manufacturer Safran, the consulting firm Accenture or the Air France technical center, he would have stood in line for twenty minutes for a sandwich or a takeaway.

“From 11:30 am, they arrived in clusters”, remembers Eric Dulau, owner of pizzeria Papa Calvo, pointing a landing line in the distance. Since then, a historic global crisis has hit an entire sector and, by extension, this developing district of the European capital of aeronautics, which has 4,000 inhabitants (and should have 10,000 in ten years. once completed).

18,000 new arrivals per year

Airbus City. With nearly 800 companies located in Occitania, the Toulouse metropolis is home to 60,000 jobs in the aeronautical sector, including 27,000 for Airbus alone. “In Toulouse, one in two people works there, recalls a doctor. In the family, dinners with friends, at the hairdresser … we are always surrounded by at least one Airbusian. “. For the past ten years, new arrivals, attracted by this El Dorado, have flocked at the rate of 18,000 per year, with family and luggage. They had to be accommodated.

“The design of Andromeda was in conjunction with that of the A380. But we did not imagine Andromède for the employees of Airbus. »Joseph Carles, Mayor of Blagnac

The design of the Andromède district, located in the towns of Blagnac and Beauzelle, north-west of Toulouse, dates back to the beginning of the 2000s. This is the golden age of Airbus: the European manufacturer has just launched development and the construction of its A380, the largest airliner in the world, the one which must once and for all confirm European supremacy over the great American rival Boeing. The first pieces of this sky giant are about to be shipped from Hamburg, Germany, and Saint-Nazaire, in Loire-Atlantique, to Blagnac via the port of Langon (Gironde), about fifty kilometers from Bordeaux.

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