Airbus, the world's leading aircraft manufacturer, will open an A320 family final assembly line in Tianjin at the end of this month, the company's first final assembly line outside Europe.
As a joint venture between Airbus, Tianjin Free Trade Zone and China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC), the assembly line is based on the latest state-of-the-art Airbus single-aisle final assembly line in Hamburg, Germany.
The aircraft will be assembled and delivered in China to the same standards as those assembled and delivered in Europe, according to Airbus.
The first aircraft will roll off the line in summer 2009 and will be delivered in the middle of the year. The assembly line will ramp up production to four aircraft a month by 2011.
The airplane manufacturer sees the Tianjin plant as a significant development. Tom Enders, Airbus president and CEO, said: "To set up the first Airbus final assembly line outside Europe in China also highlights the importance Airbus attaches to its growing partnership with China."
With the assembly line to be officially in operation, Airbus has got closer to customers in China. It said the next step is to ensure the smooth operation of the assembly line and to deliver quality aircraft to customers on time.
The Tianjin side expects that the project will serve as a great impetus for the development of Tianjin Binhai New Area.
A vendor village has been created close to the plant to host vendors and suppliers who provide components and parts for the final assembly line.
The Airbus plant is also expected to help attract more investors to the AVIC Park in Tianjin Binhai New Area. There are already some famous suppliers at the park, such as Goodrich, Zodiac, PPG, Thales, and RUAG.
Airbus started business with China in 1985 with the delivery of an A310 to the then East China Regional Administration of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, which has since morphed into China Eastern Airlines.
In 2007, the company delivered 67 aircraft to China, accounting for 15 percent of its total deliveries and it plans to deliver 75 new aircraft to Chinese airlines this year, 90 in 2009 and 100 in 2010.
Six Chinese aviation companies, which are located in Shenyang, Chengdu, Xi'an, Shanghai and Harbin, have been involved in manufacturing parts such as wing components, emergency doors and assembly and transportation tools for Airbus aircraft.
There are now over 5,000 Airbus aircraft in operation in the world and over half of them are equipped with components and parts produced in China.