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June date for Airbus assembled in Tianjin

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

The jet, completed at the plane maker's assembly line in Tianjin in north China, will be delivered to Sichuan Airlines through Dragon Aviation Leasing Co after a May test flight, an industry source said yesterday.

The Tianjin plant is expected to deliver 11 jets this year and more than 20 jets in 2010. In 2011 it is due to assemble four aircraft a month.

The total value of industrial cooperation between Airbus and the Chinese aviation industry is expected to reach US$200 million a year in 2010 and US$450 million in 2015.

On Saturday, Airbus signed a contract with Chinese partners to establish a joint venture in Harbin in northeast China to manufacture parts for the A350 XWB and the Airbus A320 family.

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

Harbin Aircraft Industry Group will hold a 50 percent stake in the venture and Airbus 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 to achieve Airbus's target of manufacturing 5 percent of the wide-bodied plane's airframe in China.

"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 in Harbin," said Laurence Barron, Airbus China president.


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