Based on an indicator measuring the aircraft technological level, this paper shows that in the aircraft industry firms are obliged to deal not only with high technological barriers, but also growing financial and market barriers. In order to reduce these barriers, a complex network of relationships has developed. The result is a world-wide production organisation. This paper highlights the fact that the aircraft industry is undergoing a global reorganisation featuring an integration process where six groups (two in Europe and four in the USA) have come to the fore. This process does not exclude traditional forms of collaboration. In the future, it will be possible to imagine new forms of co-operation between the emerging European and American groups.