Verbal standards

Considerations before writing

Thinking about what you want to say, how you want to say it and who you are saying it to will not only make your writing focused and relevant, it will also save you time. So, before you write anything, plan and think about who you are writing for and what you want them to think, feel and do when they read it.

  • Audience
  • Objective
  • Context
  • Structure


Know your audience

Understanding your audience is the most important aspect of writing for a brand.

If you try to write ‘for everyone’ you will probably end up being read by no-one. So, start by creating a clearer picture in your head of the individual you want to engage.

Ask yourself:

Who is the reader?

Typical audience types include: internal colleagues, external industry experts, a specific community or special-interest groups and the general public.

Where is the reader?

Is the language you are using their native tongue or is it their second or even third language? Are they from a similar culture or somewhere totally different?

How deep is their knowledge about the subject?

Assuming too much knowledge might mean some of your audience will struggle to understand what you are talking about. On the flipside, assuming too little knowledge will make you sound simplistic and patronising.

What are their feelings about the subject?

When writing about a sensitive topic, you should anticipate possible negative reactions from your audience.

How interested are they?

If your audience is not a captive one, remember to create an attractive hook and keep their attention.


Before you start writing, work out where you want to finish. Use two simple questions to keep your objective at the heart of everything you write.

  1. Factual objective – think about one or two key things you want your reader to remember or think of when they have finished reading what you have written.
  2. Emotional objective – readers interpret emotionally what they are reading. Do you want the reader to be reassured, entertained, disrupted or curious when they have finished reading? Try to create just one or two emotions to give your communication greater impact and to have it stay with the reader longer.


Format and medium – Understanding how and where your words will appear is really important, because people read different formats in different ways. Consider all format options for the story you want to tell. Before you decide on your usual style, ask yourself if it is worth changing it this time around. You could write it as:

  • an interview
  • reportage
  • testimonial
  • checklist
  • infographic
  • blog
  • breaking news
  • case study
  • review
  • profile
  • user guide


Background and opinion – You can help readers understand what you are writing about by offering them some background context.


New stories – Use the checklist below to ensure you cover the basic details readers want to know. They will not all apply every time, but by using the checklist you will be confident that you have included all the crucial information.


W – What has happened?

H – How did it happen?

A – Amplify : Who is involved?; When did it happen?; Where did it take place?; Why did it happen?

T – Tie up loose ends – check if all this information is actually relevant for your reader


No matter how long your written communication or how simple, the iconic marketing ‘AIDA’ structure works well for most forms of written communication.


A – Attention – Grab your reader’s attention by telling them something relevant, newsworthy, dramatic or entertaining in your headline or first few words.

I – Interest – When you have their attention you need to hold the reader’s interest by telling them something  that compels them to read on. Relevance plays a huge role here.

D – Desire – With their attention grabbed and their interest held, you are in the perfect position to go ahead and create likeability and affinity for the Airbus brand; simply by showing them what we know, what we have done or what we are about to do next.

A – Action – If you want the reader to do something, be clear about what it is. And make it easy for them to respond.



The most important information should be clearly presented in your introduction.


Use paragraphs to help the narrative

Break the information into manageable paragraphs of no more than eight sentences and sentences of no more than 20-25 words, with a single idea in each.


Use headings and keywords

Headlines for chapters, pages, sub-sections and paragraphs create a narrative structure. These act as signposts for busy readers and ensure they understand the generalities of your point, even with the quickest glance.

Gender neutral communication

As a company that takes pride in collaborating with the best in the industry, we shun gender stereotypes. Here are a few rules to help you sound gender neutral:


  • Do abandon all gender stereotypes. A woman can like sports and a man can like to cook.
  • Give equal digital space to both men and women
  • Use gender neutral pronouns such as they and them when the gender is unknown
  • Show women in technical and leadership roles and also depict men in people related roles


  • Do not reinforce gender biased associations to describe a gender such as lipsticks or high heels for women or muscles and abs for men
  • As a leading company in the Aerospace industry, do not call it a „Man´s world“
  • Do not show women in only a supporting point of view

Golden rules

Acronyms, quotations and images

Keep it factual and impartial

Take your readers’ perspective to understand what they want to know. Do not write your opinions. If you use the opinion of others, quote your sources. Keep your writing factual, impartial and based on solid evidence.


Avoid technical language and business jargon

Whenever possible, try to use common, simple language. Without meaning to, writers alienate readers by using technical language or business jargon. If you cannot avoid technical terms, explain them.


Names, job titles and Airbus people

For internal communications, use the  full name and  job title of someone the first time, and their surname after that. To avoid repetition, use the terms colleagues, employees or staff.


How we refer to Airbus and its Divisions

We no longer use ‘Group’. You can use ‘the Company’ as an alternative for ‘Airbus’. We use Airbus Helicopters and Airbus Defence and Space. Capitalise ‘Helicopters’ and ‘Defence and Space’ when used as part of the Airbus name. ‘Division’ is capitalised when referring to our lines of business.

As abbreviation use AI for Airbus and Airbus Commercial, AH for Airbus Helicopters and AD for Airbus Defences and Space.



  • Do not spell out abbreviations that are widely known, e.g. NATO, UAV.
  • Use all capitals where you would say the abbreviation as a string of letters, e.g. GDP, UNHCR, CEO.
  • Use lower case with an initial cap where you would pronounce the letters as a word, e.g. Nasa, Opec, Apec.
  • Write U.S., not U.S.A.
  • Write the plural of a common abbreviation, or of names of aircraft, as ‘s’ without an apostrophe, e.g. ‘many MPs,’ ‘four A380s’ and ‘six H225s.’



Respect the copyright owner of images, even if it is Airbus, with a credit in a caption, embedded digital tag or in an appendix.



Proofread every draft at least two times.

British English and capitalisation

British English

Use British English spelling, except when writing for an exclusively US audience. In that case, use American English spelling. Do not use a mix of both.

Note that American English is also used for technical documentation.


Upper/Lower case

  • Airbus is written in lower case starting with a capital.
  • Division and Business Unit always start with a capital.
  • Use capitals for names of events and seminars, e.g. Airbus International Media Seminar. Do not use them when referring back to the event, e.g. the seminar was held in Bremen.
  • Use capitals for specific job titles, e.g. Guillaume Faury, Chief Executive Officer. Do not use them for general titles, e.g. Tom is an electrical engineer.
  • Use capitals for names of specific processes, e.g. Airbus’ Strategy Review.



The word ‘government’ is lower case when used in a general sense, but upper case if you are referring to a particular administration, e.g. The Government announced the abolition of higher rate tax.



Countries, states and regions regarded as having a distinct identity need capitals, e.g. France, West Virginia. Otherwise, do not capitalise, e.g. the south of Norway, western France.

Writing conventions


Use metric unless context dictates otherwise, e.g. aircraft speed; distance in miles for UK and US exclusive audiences. For aeronautic audiences, include an aeronautic measurement, e.g. Km/h (Ktas or Kias), Km (NM), metres (ft). Write out numbers one to ten in words. Write out first, second, third etc. in full. Always use figures for decimals or fractions: 6.25 or 6 1⁄4. But two-thirds of the job. Avoid mixing words and figures in the same phrase: e.g. You can order in multiples of 9, 12 or 16.


Thousands, millions and billions

Use a comma for four digits or more (but not in dates): 5,000 years; 5000BC. Write thousands as 60,000 (not 60K). Write millions as 60 million or 60m (not 60,000,000). File sizes should always be written as abbreviations: 45Kb, 1.8Mb.



Use the % sign unless convention or context dictates otherwise.


Date, time and range

  • The decision was in spring 2011 (not ‘last spring’)
  • 7 September 2015
  • 9.30am, 5pm (not the 24-hour clock)
  • 12 noon and 12 midnight (not 12pm and 12am)
  • Twentieth century (not 20th century), but 20th-century (as adjective)
  • From/to, between/and or X–X. But do not mix and match: from 9am to 5pm between 9am and 5pm course time: 9am–5pm
  • 1967– 69, but 1999–2008
  • 1990s (not 1990’s)
  • 3h 54min – Put a space after the ‘h’ and note that ‘min’ never has an ‘s.’



€ for Europe; £ for UK; $ (meaning US$) for rest of world. But the decline of the US dollar.


Phone numbers

France +33 1 42 24 20 63
Germany +49 89 607 34066
UK +44 207 845 8419
Spain +34 91 5 85 59 00


E-mail address

E-mail addresses should be written with an @ symbol, not spelling the word ‘at’.



  • Do not punctuate addresses, e.g. Mr R Smith Emphasis Training Ltd
  • Do not put a comma after salutations, e.g. Dear Mr Smith / Kind regards



Use colons to:

  • introduce lists, e.g. the three things we need: time, investment and creativity
  • introduce bullets
  • introduce extracts or long quotes
  • emphasise a question, e.g. The question is: are their processes up to the job?


Use lower case after a colon, except for bullets that are whole sentences.



When each bullet completes a sentence, use:

  • lower case
  • no punctuation
  • no final full stop (if it is a short phrase or a few words)
  • a full stop after the last bullet if it ends the sentence (as this one does).


Ampersands (&)

Avoid using an ampersand (&) except for a company name (Ernst & Young), or a market segment (Oil & Gas).



Do not use between an adverb-adjective combination, e.g. cleverly designed


Do use

  • between numbers/prices: € 40-€ 50 or 80-90 (no spaces)
  • for ranges with large numbers: $ 50 million-$170 million
  • state-of-the-art (as adjective)
  • first-class (as adjective)
  • well-known (as adjective)

Font styles

Bold and underline

Use bold for headings and subheads. Avoid using bold to highlight words within text. Avoid using underline – either in headings or to emphasise a word.



Use italics for:

  • books, publications, newspapers and TV, e.g. Troublesome Words by Bill Bryson, The Times
  • foreign phrases (including Latin terms), but use the English alternative whenever possible
  • emphasis in text, but use sparingly, e.g. ‘style does matter
  • cross-references.

Do not use italics for brand names, except where the brand name is also a publication, e.g. The Economist.

Quotation marks and brackets

Quotation marks

  • Use double quotation marks for direct speech.
  • Use single marks for a quote within a quote or to highlight a word or sentence.
  • Introduce short quotes with a comma and long quotes with a colon. Put the punctuation within the quotation marks only if it is part of the quote, e.g. She said, “The food wasn’t even hot.”


When quoting a part of a sentence, the full stop goes outside, e.g. How many people said, “We’re not coming back”?



Use round brackets (parentheses) to:

  • include optional information, e.g. almost half (48%)
  • explain a term, e.g. upper case (capital letters)
  • introduce an abbreviation, e.g. the summary review memorandum (SRM)
  • cross-reference, e.g. in the plain English dictionary (page 43)


Use square brackets to:

  • include an editorial comment, e.g. a huge bonus [Rob, please confirm]
  • include a clarification not a part of the quote, e.


Use apostrophes to:

  • denote periods of time, e.g. a day’s leave, in three weeks’ time
  • show possession, e.g. Jane’s bag, workers’ rights

Do not use apostrophes for contractions. Always spell out full words, e.g. do not.


For nouns ending in ‘s’:

  • singular: e.g. his boss’s car, the business’s success
  • singular proper nouns: e.g. James’s book, Emphasis’ trainers, Dickens’ novels,
  • plural: e.g. the Joneses’ dog, other businesses’ problems
  • singular in meaning, but plural in form: e.g. the United States’ foreign policy

When referring to a possession of Airbus, do not use an apostrophe, e.g. Airbus planes


In general, do not use an apostrophe to make a plural, e.g. HGVs, CVs, 1990s.

Channel-specific guidelines

Writing for the web

How users read on the web

Online audiences scan text. By separating text with well-written, pertinent headings, readers can move directly to the section of the text that is most useful for them.


Different content types

Static content, avoid ‘perishable’ text

Static content is linked to the section in which it is placed. Write static content from the start with its ‘perishability’ in mind.


Web news

Web news can complement a press release. It can cover all subjects that do not easily work with any of the other formats.


Web story

A web story is written in a journalistic, storytelling style. It can be educational. A web story can give an in-depth focus to a particular subject.


Writing styles for the web

Write clearly, concisely and simply. Focus on relevant information. Most internet users have very specific goals in mind. Be factual and accurate and keep content up to date. Bear in mind the audience’s English reading and understanding skills are varied.


The introductory paragraph should contain the most important facts and keywords. Headlines must balance two priorities: be factually accurate while being intriguing enough to entice users to read more. Sentence fragments are acceptable.


Bullet points, tables and numbered lists can be used, but sparingly. Make selected hyperlinks part of the article. Avoid the ‘cul de sac’ effect: use available components (like teaser boxes) to direct the user via a click from a landing page to other pages.

Writing for magazines

Our magazine content should be driven by the expectations of our customers and their needs, issues and ambitions – all with a focus on our products.


FAST magazine – style and editorial advice

FAST is a technical magazine that targets commercial aircraft customers. Approx. 12 articles per year are published on the FAST app, then in a printed compilation (two per year). The tone is corporate, formal and informative. It primarily targets commercial customers. The information should focus on what will interest, help and inspire them. Draft articles are approx. 1,200-2,400 words, plus illustrations.


Newsfeed by Airbus app – style and editorial advice

This is an app that delivers short news articles of specific interest to commercial aircraft customers (airlines, leasers, MROs). Sensitive or customer-only information should be mentioned briefly in a neutral way. We publish approx. one to three articles per week. The articles must be of specific interest to customers, kept short (100-350 words), with one main photo and an author credit.


Rotor Magazine – style and editorial advice

Rotor Magazine is Airbus Helicopters’ external magazine. Its focus is to tell positive, emotive stories. Breaking news, innovation, services and customer success stories are at the heart of our articles. The tone is journalistic, easy to understand and actively untechnical. More than 50% of the space given to a story consists of pictures and/or graphics, so a double page spread maximum character count is 3,000.

Writing for social media

Social media is an ever-changing landscape. For a list of our current social media profiles, see the Common Writing Guidelines.


Social media – writing style

Respect our audiences’ time and share content that is useful, relevant, and/or interesting. Be mindful of people using mobile devices or with slow internet. Avoid too much social media jargon. Avoid slang, local sayings and never sound sarcastic.


Social media – legal considerations

Seek managerial approval before retweeting/regramming someone else’s image. Do not speculate on rumours.



This is our current list of our common hashtags.




Answering questions

If you are in a position to talk with our audience, remember to be direct, honest, real and personal. If a question is unclear, answer as you understand it. If we cannot answer the question, ask them to send a message so you can pass their query on.


Giving credit

When using someone else’s image or article, give that person credit. On Twitter, “h/t @username” (with “h/t” meaning “hat tip”). On Instagram, use the camera emoji followed by @username.


Using links

Shortening your links on social media will free up more room for copy in your posts. Use the website to shorten links, then copy and paste into the posts.

Social media profile guidelines


  • Tweets should follow this format: headline, link and hashtag. Tweets are limited to 280 characters.
  • Replace “and” with ampersand (&) to save characters.
  • Use MT to signal when a quoted tweet has been modified or shortened.
  • Cite the source of an article by tagging the relevant account at the end of the message in brackets.



  • Give videos descriptive names to support SEO.
  • Include relevant hyperlinks after description.
  • Include tags to define the genre or categories included in the video.
  • Add the video to a playlist to group together relevant content.
  • Add an end screen or annotations to link users to other videos.



List all your hashtags within the first comment of an Instagram post. When using Instagram stories, include a link for users to find out more information. Links are not clickable in Instagram copy. If it is essential to include a link, input the link into the profile bio while the post is relevant and reference the link in the post copy.



Prioritise quality over quantity for posts. Include an image or video to encourage engagements. When adding links to copy, you can remove the URL once a clickable thumbnail has appeared on the post draft.


Airbus and other company names

Use singular for companies. They are individual companies, even though there are many people working in them.
E.g.: Airbus is …
E.g.: Singapore Airlines is…


Airbus Commercial Aircraft

A220 Family




A320 Family

A319neo, A320neo and A321neo – (new engine option): no space before neo and lower case

A319ceo, A320ceo and A321ceo - (current engine option): no space before ceo and lower case

A321LR (Long Range)


A330 Family










A350 XWB Family

A350 XWB



A350-900 Ultra Long Range



A380 – Do not call it ‘jumbo’ or ‘giant’. Do not refer to A380 as a “Family”


BelugaXL – no space between Beluga and XL


NEO – «New Engine Option» (all-caps when just standalone). With regards to A330, please avoid the full designation.


Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ)

The dedicated VIP and Business Aviation aircraft brand.

ACJ319neo, ACJ320neo, ACJ330neo or ACJ330-800, ACJ350

XWB or ACJ350-900 …

Not: Airbus ACJ320


Airbus Corporate Helicopters (ACH)

The dedicated Private and Business Aviation helicopter brand.

ACH130, ACH145, ACH145, ACH160 and ACH175 (without space)


Airbus Defence and Space

Aeolus (EO science mission): For ESA, first mission to obtain wind profiles on a global scale, launch 2018.

ALADIN (EO science instrument): ALADIN is the LIDAR (Light Detection and Radar) instrument on the Aeolus Instrument.

Ariane 5 ME or Ariane 5 Midlife Evolution: always with spaces

Ariane 6

A400M; no space before the ‘M’

A330 MRTT or “A330 MRTT Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft” – space between A330 and MRTT.

BepiColombo (Space exploration mission): Mission to Mercury. ESA mission. Launch 2018

C2: Command and Control

C295, CN235: no spaces

CHEOPS (Characterising ExOplanet Satellite)

CSO (EO national programme): CSO - Composante Spatiale Optique (Optical Space Component). CSO optical satellites in the frame of the MUSIS system for French military governance.

EDRS (Electronic Data Relay Satellites – aka SpaceDataHighway)

EGNOS and EGNOSV3 (Navigation system): European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service

Eurostar E3000 (Telecom satellite product): Current generation of Eurostar, the Airbus’ flagship product for geostationary communications satellites.

Eurostar Neo (Telecom satellite product): New generation of Eurostar, under development

ExoMars (always capital ‘E’ and ‘M’)

FCAS: Future Combat Air Systems

Grace FO (EO Science mission): Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment Follow-On. NASA mission.

HAPS: High Altitude Pseudo Satellite


MALE RPAS: Medium Altitude Long Endurance Remotely Piloted Aerial System

MetOp-SG (MetOp Second Generation satellites)

MUT: Manned Unmanned Teaming

NFTS (Network for the Sky)


OneWeb (one word, capital ‘W’); OneWeb Satellites (name of JV)



QuadCruiser: capital C

RC: Remote Carrier


SOC – Security Operations Centre

Solar Orbiter




Zephyr S / Zephyr T: S for Single tail / T for Twin tail


Airbus facilities/locations

Airbus US Manufacturing Facility

Airbus Americas Government Relations Department 13

Airbus Mexico Training Centre, S.A. de C.V. Airbus Americas

Note the British English spelling of ‘Centre’ when referring to the official name


Airbus Helicopters

The preferred descriptor is ‘helicopter’. When variations are required, the best alternatives are ‘rotorcraft’ and ‘aircraft’.

Use ‘Super Puma,’ ‘Dauphin’ and ‘Ecureuil’ when talking about the family of helicopters and never translate the names into another language.

No space between ‘H’ and product number in helicopter model names (H135, H145M, etc)


Current range:

Civil : H125, H130, H135, H145, H155, H160, H175, H215, H225

Military: H125M, H135M, H145M, AS565 MBe, H160M, H215M, H225M, Tiger, NH90


Special names:

ARH – Australian Tiger

Caracal – H225M of the French Armed Forces

Caïman – NH90 of the French Navy and Army

Dolphin HH-65 or MH-65 (AS365 variant of the US Coast Guard)

Ecureuil is known as AStar in the US market

HCare: Support and Services offer (No space between H and name of project)

Helionix: avionics system

HForce: weapon system (No space between H and name of project)

MRH – Australian NH90

UH-72A Lakota (EC145 variant in the United States)


Air show

Air show - two words, unless in official name of specific air shows, e.g. Singapore Airshow, Dubai Airshow.



Project for achieving unmanned aircraft system (UAS) integration into airspace



Breakthrough Laminar Aircraft Demonstrator in Europe



Four passenger eVTOL demonstrator


Clean Sky 2

European research programme aimed at reducing CO2, gas emissions and noise levels produced by aircraft


E-Fan X

Hybrid-electric flight demonstrator



Electric vertical takeoff and landing



Always write ‘final assembly line’ in lowercase, but FAL when used as an acronym in parentheses, e.g. ‘The final assembly line (FAL) in Tianjin’.

The Mobile A320 FAL should be referred to as ‘the Airbus US Manufacturing Facility (or US Manufacturing Facility).



Family: always with a capital F, e.g. A330/A340 Family.



Use upper case e.g. Procurement, Engineering, Business Transformation


Future programmes

Only use the generic term ‘future programmes,’ never refer to A30X etc.


Job titles

Use lower case for the general term

e.g.: ‘The president of the company is Guillaume Faury’ (but ‘Guillaume Faury, President Airbus Commercial Aircraft’)

e.g.: They are test pilots.

Use upper case for someone’s official title e.g.: J. Smith, Ground Test Engineer


MSN numbers

MSN0001, MSN0026 (without space).


MTOW – maximum take-off weight

Please note, ‘take-off’ is always written with a hyphen.



always in all capitals in referring to the Airbus technology partnership with the defending America’s Cup sailing champions.


PopUp Next

multi-modal air and ground urban vehicle concept



not program


Programme lines

Programme lines are never translated into local languages. They always remain:

  • Military aircraft
  • Space systems
  • Connected Intelligence
  • Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)



Hybrid-lift quadcopter for unmanned military and civil missions



Rapid And Cost Effective Rotorcraft



always with capital S as the first letter.



commercial parcel delivery drone



commercial aviation data platform



data platform for military aircraft and helicopters



Urban Air Mobility



Unmanned Autonomous System



Unmanned Aerial Vehicle



unmanned traffic management



single passenger eVTOL demonstrator



on-demand helicopter mobility service



Rotary-wing Unmanned Autonomous System



always one word



Solar-electric, stratospheric High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS)

You might be interested in:


Brochures and flyers



External newsletters

Email banners

Email signature

Social media


Verbal standards

Back to top