The company (as SNIAS) was created in 1970 by the merger of the state-owned companies Sud Aviation, Nord Aviation and Société d'études et de réalisation d'engins balistiques (SEREB). Starting in 1971 it was directed by Henri Ziegler. Its North American Marketing arm, French Aerospace Corporation, was renamed European Aerospace Corporation in 1971.
In 1991 the company helped construct the revolutionary chassis of the Bugatti EB110 Supercar. The chassis was built completely of carbon fibre, and was very lightweight.
In 1999, Aérospatiale, except for the satellites activities, merged with Matra Haute Technologie to form Aérospatiale-Matra. In 2001, Aérospatiale-Matra's missile group was merged with Matra BAe Dynamics and the missile division of Alenia Marconi Systems to form MBDA. Lionel Jospin's Plural Left government initiated the privatization of Aérospatiale.