The continued shift in strategy should help to allay fears that the group might wind down production in Britain, where it employs 18,000 people directly, mostly at the wing factory at Broughton, in Cheshire, that is seen as its crown jewel.
Company sources say the chief executive, Thomas Enders, is determined to turn the group – which also produces communications satellites and helicopters – into a “normal commercial company” operating by market rules.
The changes to be presented to the board this week will create three divisions: Airbus Commercial Aircraft, making up two-thirds of the group’s €57bn (£49bn) revenues; Airbus Defence & Space, based in Munich; and Airbus Helicopters.
The plan is to capitalise on the name of Airbus at a time of booming sales in Asia, and cleanse the company of explicit links to Europe’s political project, seen as a huge barrier to EADS’s hopes of competing with rival Boeing for military contracts in the United States.
“Enders is doing exactly the right thing. Airbus is a global brand and EADS sounds like a European state agency,” said aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia, from the Teal Group in Washington.