Air­bus in­creases ca­pac­ity at Tian­jin fi­nal assem­bly line

China Daily European Weekly - - Business - By ZHU WENQIAN zhuwen­qian@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Euro­pean air­craft man­u­fac­turer Air­bus SE has says it is wit­ness­ing the fast and sta­ble growth of China’s civil avi­a­tion mar­ket, and its A320 fam­ily fi­nal assem­bly line in Tian­jin is in­creas­ing its ca­pac­ity.

Air­bus as­sem­bles an av­er­age of four-and-a-half A320 air­craft a month in Tian­jin, and it will de­liver a to­tal of 52 A320s this year. Early next year, it will pro­duce five A320 air­craft a month, and by the end of 2019, it will pro­duce six A320s a month, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany.

The pro­duc­tion ramp-up fol­lows an agree­ment be­tween Air­bus and China signed dur­ing French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron’s state visit to China in Jan­uary.

By the end of Au­gust, the fa­cil­ity — which has been in op­er­a­tion for 10 years and is the third-largest sin­gleaisle assem­bly line for Air­bus af­ter Toulouse and Ham­burg — had de­liv­ered 378 A320 air­craft to Chi­nese air­lines and Air Asia. It is look­ing to at­tract more cus­tomers from Asia.

“We are 100 per­cent con­fi­dent of the China mar­ket, our largest mar­ket, fol­lowed by the United States. We are com­mit­ted to China and bullish on its growth po­ten­tial. Air­bus is look­ing at bring­ing in a lot of new ideas ev­ery day,” says Francois Mery, chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer of Air­bus Com­mer­cial Air­craft China.

Mean­while, Air­bus now also de­liv­ers one A330 air­plane a month from its A330 com­ple­tion and de­liv­ery cen­ter in Tian­jin, the com­pany’s first wide-body com­ple­tion and de­liv­ery cen­ter out­side Europe. The cen­ter was launched in Septem­ber last year.

By the end of this year, the man­u­fac­turer will de­liver 12 wide­body air­craft in to­tal from Tian­jin to Chi­nese air­lines, in­clud­ing ma­jor Sta­te­owned and pri­vate car­ri­ers.

“We also plan to ex­tend the work in Tian­jin to the A330­neo, and we are ex­pected to de­liver the first A330­neo air­craft by early 2020,” Mery says.

“Com­pared to 10 years ago, we are do­ing more com­pli­cated assem­bly work in Tian­jin, and we plan to co­op­er­ate with more Chi­nese sup­pli­ers, in­clud­ing sup­pli­ers of equip­ment and sys­tems,” he says.

By 2020, the to­tal out­put from the co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Air­bus and Chi­nese com­pa­nies is ex­pected to reach more than $1 bil­lion. The value was $641 mil­lion last year and $120 mil­lion in 2008, Air­bus has said.

“Chi­nese in­dus­trial play­ers are do­ing more cru­cial man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs for global air­craft man­u­fac­tur­ers, show­ing that they have be­come more skilled and rec­og­nized,” says Lin Zhi­jie, an avi­a­tion in­dus­try an­a­lyst and colum­nist at carnoc.com, one of China’s big­gest civil avi­a­tion web­sites.

Mery says: “We would like to form a ver­ti­cal in­te­gra­tion sup­ply chain in China, mean­ing we will pur­chase raw ma­te­ri­als, do the parts assem­bly, then the air­craft assem­bly in China. This will help us to save a sig­nif­i­cant amount of trans­porta­tion costs and raise the ef­fi­ciency, and it’s also good for China to de­velop its strength in avi­a­tion man­u­fac­tur­ing.”

Air­bus has about half of the mar­ket share in China, com­pared with 9 per­cent in 1996. Its in­dus­trial co­op­er­a­tion with China has helped the com­pany in boost­ing its mar­ket share re­mark­ably against archri­val Boe­ing Co of the United States. Boe­ing un­veiled its first over­seas com­ple­tion and de­liv­ery cen­ter for its sin­gle-aisle air­craft in Zhoushan, Zhe­jiang prov­ince, last year.

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