May 29, 2020

Airbus to boost cooperation with China, Tianjin to be firm’s manufacturing center in Asia

The European aircraft manufacturer will begin plans to assemble six A320 planes a month at  the Tianjin facility by the year’s end, which is a 50 percent increase from its current workload.Tianjin is the company’s third-largest single-aisle assembly line after those in Toulouse, France and Hamburg, Germany. During its 10 years of operation, the factory has assembled over 440 A320 aircraft, according to company data.

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Airbus also recently signed a cooperation agreement with China’s state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation to launch its single-aisle aircraft fuselage for A319 and A320 planes in Tianjin. The first delivery of a fully China-equipped plane is set for 2021.

“The agreement signifies that industrial cooperation between Airbus and China has expanded from the assembly of structural parts to more complicated fuselage systems. In the future, the production rate of the fuselage equipping will be in line with the Tianjin center, and reach a production rate of six aircraft a month,” George Xu, CEO of Airbus China, said, as cited by China Daily.

The agreement for fuselage equipping was signed during German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to China in early September.

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In yet another move, Airbus plans to expand cooperation with Chinese suppliers, hoping to increase productivity, shifting the company’s completion and delivery center in Tianjin to work on A330neo and A350 planes in the next few years.

We would like to form a vertical integration supply chain in China, meaning we will purchase raw materials, do the parts assembly, then the aircraft assembly in China. We also hope to train and develop more local Chinese suppliers that are in line with global standards,” Francois Mery, chief operating officer of Airbus China, stated.

Airbus currently has about 50% of the market share in China, in contrast to the mere 9% it had in 1996. The total value of industrial cooperation between Airbus and the Chinese aviation industry reached $900 million last year, according to the firm’s data, and is expected to reach a $1 billion peak in 2020.

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