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Seeking new dimension of win-win with China: Airbus China COO

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-01-06 13:44
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Airbus delivers an A320 aircraft to China Southern Airlines on Oct 29, 2020. The plane's final assembly was done at the company's Tianjin facility. [Photo provided to China Daily]

BEIJING -- Airbus sees the challenging pandemic period as the time "for a new start" in building a sustainable future together with China, a senior executive with Airbus China has told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.

"Airbus and China are adding a new dimension to the win-win future for both sides and a sustainable world by taking care of growth opportunities and opening doors for the next generation," said Michel Tran Van, chief operating officer of Airbus China.

In the interview, he outlined the company's vision for future of the aviation industry and deepened cooperation with China, focusing on innovation and environmental sustainability.

New Dimensions

"Airbus and China share the commitment to building a sustainable future. It will be a new dimension of win-win," said Tran Van.

The COO, who boasts a strong engineering background, drew a chart illustrating the multi-dimensional cooperation between Airbus and China, covering the full life-cycle of the aviation ecosystem.

The vertical "products" axis ranges from single-aisle to wide-body aircraft, representing Airbus' production facilities. The horizontal axis shows various areas of operation covering the whole life-cycle, such as research and design, innovation, engineering, delivery and supply.

It is in this range of operations that the environmental sustainability comes into play. Airbus and the Chinese partners are exploring ways to reduce their environmental footprints, cutting CO2 emissions, both from the aircraft themselves and the whole industrial set up.

Airbus and its Chinese partners are making efforts in fields such as reducing waste and water consumption in production, introducing green electricity and water recycling, and exploring innovative techniques.

Impressive momentum

"It was a challenging two years, but a very impressive and rewarding experience," said Tran Van with a smile, recalling that he took up the post in early 2020, around the time that COVID-19 hit the news.

Airbus China has experienced impressive momentum on several fronts over the past two years. "We are all very proud of that. There has not been a single disruption of our supply chain in China. It's amazing!"

Almost all Airbus commercial aircraft are supported by aerospace parts made by more than 200 Chinese suppliers, covering their entire life-cycle.

In June, 2021, an Airbus A320 fuselage-equipping project was jointly launched by Airbus and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) in Tianjin, marking another step forward for Airbus's localization and vertical integration in China.

Soon after, in July, a completion-and-delivery center for the Airbus flagship A350 aircraft was launched in Tianjin.

"China is our key market and the hub of our supply chain. It's also an integral part of the global aviation industrial ecosystem, a country with talented people, innovation vitality and good potentials," said Tran Van.

Securing the Future

Global aerospace giants are adapting to the changes brought about by the pandemic. According to Tran Van, Airbus is taking this challenging time as an opportunity for a more ambitious restart in cooperation with China.

"In the face of challenges and competition, we can't stand still. It's the right time to secure the future with innovation," he said.

In northeast China's Harbin, an innovative technique for detecting flaws in composite materials has been developed in a joint-venture.

The new technique is expected to enhance the quality and production efficiency of composite materials, which are key to the modern aerospace industry. It is a unique approach developed in China.

Airbus also cooperates with Chinese partners in fields such as smart manufacturing, data analysis in engineering and new aerospace materials.

"We aviation people have some fascinating responsibilities -- to leave the next generation the spirit of always being innovative and finding ways to keep people connected in a safer way."

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