Airbus (Toulouse, France) recently announced two separate agreements between the company and its Chinese partners, which includes its largest-ever A330 commitment for China, while also creating the framework for setting up an A330 completion and delivery center in Tianjin.
“Following our successful cooperation projects in China, most notably the A320 family final assembly line, our partnership with China is expanding to a new area,” said Airbus President and Chief Executive Officer Fabrice Brégier.
The agreement with the Tianjin Free Trade Zone Investment Company Ltd. (TJFTZ) and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) is another step forward in relationship that has already led to the successful A320 final assembly line in Tianjin, the first such Airbus’ site situated outside of Europe.
To be located near the site of this existing final assembly line, the completion and delivery center is expected to employ approximately 250 people and will cover such activities as aircraft reception, cabin installation, painting, engine runs and flight testing, as well as aircraft delivery and customer acceptance. Structural assembly for A330 tamily aircraft to be completed in Tianjin will occur at the current site – the Clément Ader Final Assembly Line in Toulouse, France – before the aircraft fly to China.
The major announcement marked an important step in continuing the A330 family’s ongoing success as China Aviation Supplies Holding Company signed a General Terms Agreement for 45 A330s, as well as an additional Memorandum of Understanding covering options for 30 A330 aircraft.
These commitments for A330ceo (current engine option) jetliners will help Airbus’ sustain its stable production rate of six aircraft per month as it transitions to assembly of A330neo (new engine option) jetliners in the 2016-2018 timeframe.
This week’s activities underscore the strong success Airbus has earned in China, since its first delivery to the country: an A310 in 1985. To date, Airbus’ presence has grown to include more than 1,150 in-service aircraft – a 50% market share in China.
The company’s widebody jetliners have enjoyed particular popularity with Chinese operators as members of Airbus’ highly-efficient A330, A350 XWB and A380 widebody product line comprise 57 percent of the country’s in-service fleet of widebody and very large aircraft.
Currently, 20% of the company’s deliveries are provided to China, a number that will grow as the nation is projected to become the world’s largest market in terms of air traffic according to Airbus’ latest global market forecast.