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Airbus eyes more alliances with Chinese suppliers

By Zhu Wenqian | China Daily | Updated: 2018-01-09 07:42
Employees work at the A320 family final assembly line of the Airbus factory in Tianjin. [Photo/Agencies]

Aircraft maker to step up industrial cooperation with private firms in the country

European aircraft manufacturer Airbus SE plans to cooperate with more Chinese suppliers, including private companies, as it expands industrial cooperation with the world's fastest-growing aviation market, a senior company executive said.

Besides subsidiaries of State-owned Aviation Industry Corp of China, a number of private companies have become, or are on course to become, new suppliers of Airbus, and they will directly provide parts to Airbus planes globally, said Francois Mery, chief operating officer of Airbus Commercial Aircraft China.

"China accounts for one-fourth of our market. We hope to cooperate with more Chinese suppliers. The Chinese government also encouraged us to cooperate with more private enterprises in the country," said Mery.

He made the remarks as French President Emmanuel Macron commenced his three-day state-visit to China on Monday.

The Financial Times reported on Monday that Airbus is likely to hold early-stage discussions with China on offering an industrial partnership with the country on the A380, if Chinese carriers place orders for the world's largest passenger jet. The company is also likely to sign an agreement to sell 100 aircraft to the country, the report said.

"For A380, it has been unable to net new orders for about two years. China seems not that interested in ordering A380 either, and it's unsure if the cooperation about A380 could be reached," said Lin Zhijie, an aviation industry analyst and columnist at Carnoc, a leading civil aviation website in China.

By the end of 2017, the total output from the cooperation between Airbus and Chinese firms reached $592 million from $120 million in 2010, according to Airbus.

Xizi UHC, a private Chinese manufacturer based in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, got approval to provide wing ribs for the single-aisle aircraft of Airbus in 2017.

Nanshan Group, a Shandong province-based private manufacturing conglomerate, will produce aluminum extrusion raw materials for Airbus. It is under the process of getting the necessary qualifications ahead of the formal approval later this year, Mery said.

Moreover, AVIC Composite Corp Ltd will produce honeycombs for the cabin interior of Airbus planes, and it is expected to be approved this year.

Airbus plans to deliver 10 A330 aircraft to Chinese carriers from its completion and delivery center in Tianjin this year, Mery said. The center was launched in September and is Airbus' first widebody completion and delivery center outside Europe.

Boeing unveiled its first overseas completion and delivery center for its single-aisle aircraft in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province last year, and the center will start operations in May.

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