Airbus expects the first A350 finished in China to roll off the final assembly line in 2021 as part of “a deepening and broadening” of aviation industry cooperation.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in Beijing this week by He Lifeng, the chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission of China and Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury that would see both sides agreeing “ to take practical and effective measures for new initiatives regarding both Airbus single-aisle and widebody aircraft”.
The signing, in the presence of Chinese President Xi Jinping and visiting French President Emmanuel Macron, was in marked contrast to the tense relationship between China and the US.
Airbus is the process of boosting its A320 family production rate of 63 aircraft per month in 2021 and said its Tianjin A320 final assembly line (FAL Asia) remained on track to ramp up its production to six aircraft per month by the end of 2019.
This is 50 percent more than the facility’s original design expectations
“A350 XWB capabilities will be extended into the Airbus Tianjin wide-body Completion and Delivery Centre (C&DC) from the second half of 2020,’’ it said.
“The C&DC is scheduled to deliver its first A350 aircraft by 2021 from Tianjin.”
While China is no doubt happy to flaunt its relationships with Europe in the current US trade war, Tianjin is no Johnny-come-lately.
The A320 family final assembly line has been operating since 2008 and has delivered 450 aircraft to Chinese and Asian customers.
The Tianjin CD&C, the first Airbus widebody center outside Europe, was inaugurated in 2017.
It has concentrated on A330 completion activities such as cabin installation, aircraft painting and production flight tests, as well as customer acceptance and aircraft delivery.
“We attach great importance to our long-term strategic partnership with China and its aviation industry,” Faury said in the announcement. “Airbus is committed to serving this growth sector with the diverse portfolio it has to offer and we are committed to working with our Chinese partners to shape the future of the industry.”
As Airbus points out, China’s domestic market is set to become the world’s biggest and international traffic to and from the populous nation has nearly doubled over the last 10 years.
The Airbus Global Market Forecast predicts China will need about 7,560 new aircraft over the next 20 years.