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Airbus steps up competition

Airbus SAS plans to deliver its first Chinese-assembled A320 jet in June as part of its efforts to compete with Boeing Co for orders in the world's second-largest aviation market.

The jet, completed in the plane maker's assembly line in Tianjin, will be delivered to Sichuan Airlines through Dragon Aviation Leasing Co after conducting a test flight in May, an industry source told Shanghai Daily today.

The Airbus A320 Family Final Assembly Line in Tianjin is expected to deliver 11 jets this year and more than 20 jets in 2010. It is scheduled to assembly 4 aircraft a month in 2011.

Airbus is committed to forging a long-term strategic partnership with China. The total value of industrial cooperation between Airbus and the Chinese aviation industry is expected to reach US$200 million annually in 2010 and US$450 million in 2015.

Yesterday, Airbus signed a contract with a group of Chinese industrial partners to establish a joint venture in Harbin to manufacture composite material parts and components for A350 XWB program and Airbus A320 Family aircraft.

Manufacturing operations of the Harbin Hafei Airbus Composite Manufacturing Center Co Ltd will start in September and a new plant should be ready for operations by the end of 2010.

Harbin Aircraft Industry Group Co Ltd will hold a 50-percent stake in the venture and Airbus will hold a 20-percent stake. Hafei Aviation Industry Co Ltd, Avichina Industry & Technology Co Ltd and Harbin Development Zone Heli Infrastructure Development Co Ltd will each hold a 10-percent stake.

The venture will produce major components for the A350 XWB program to achieve Airbus' target of manufacturing 5 percent of the A350 XWB airframe in China. These components will be manufactured using the latest composite manufacturing technology based on Airbus standards and processes.

"The joint venture is another step forward in our cooperation with Hafei, as Hafei was one of the founding members of our Airbus Engineering Center in Beijing. We are very confident in the prospects for our joint venture with our Chinese partners in Harbin," said Laurence Barron, President of Airbus China.


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