Harbin Hafei Airbus Composite Manufacturing Centre (HMC, Harbin, China), a joint venture between Airbus (Toulouse, France) and its Chinese partners, reported on Sept. 16 that it has started to deliver elevators for the Airbus A350 XWB program. A ceremony was held in Harbin for the delivery of the first ship set of elevators. The elevators manufactured at HMC are delivered to Spain-based Aernnova Aerospace (ANN), which will deliver them to the Airbus plant in Getafe, Spain, where they will be integrated into the A350 XWB horizontal tail plane. ANN is a major supplier of aerostructures to Airbus.
Under a contract signed by HMC and ANN in 2010, HMC is responsible for manufacturing and assembling the complete set of carbon fiber elevators. During the initial phase the A350 elevators were solely produced at ANN. Production in China started in 2012. After a period of transition, during which the elevators are produced at both ANN and HMC, the Harbin Manufacturing Centre will become the sole supplier of A350 XWB elevators.
According to an agreement signed in 2007 between Airbus and the Chinese government, Airbus agreed to allocate 5 percent of the A350 XWB airframe to be manufactured in China. The work packages to be carried out by HMC are a significant part of the 5 percent.
Rafael González-Ripoll, Airbus China chief operating officer, says, “The delivery of the first ship set of A350 XWB elevators by HMC is an important milestone in our long-term partnership with the Chinese aviation industry. The A350 XWB has taken to the sky and the program is progressing on track. The Chinese have every reason to be proud of the contribution they are making to the A350 XWB.”
Geng Ruguang, executive vice president of AVIC, the parent company of the majority shareholding Chinese partners of the HMC, says, “It’s inspiring for the Chinese aviation industry to be involved in the development and production of the A350 XWB, which is the world’s most advanced and most efficient aircraft, and to become an integrated part of Airbus’ global supply chain. The delivery of the first A350 XWB elevator demonstrates one more step forward of HMC towards its set target. The development of HMC will also constitute a pulling force for the relevant local industries.”
The Harbin Hafei Manufacturing Centre, set up in 2009, is already producing work packages related to the Airbus Single Aisle program (elevators, rudders and HTP spars) and starts today to deliver the first major part to the A350 XWB program. In order to fulfill these work packages, especially those for the A350 XWB program, including elevators, rudders, Section 19 maintenance doors and belly fairing parts, HMC began to build new facilities in 2009. The state-of-the-art new facilities were inaugurated in early 2011.