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France keen on trunk-line project
enorth.com.cn   2009-04-23 09:31


(Chinadaily)TIANJIN: France is keen to cooperate with China on the ambitious trunk-line aircraft project, according to Anne-Marie Idrac, minister of State for Foreign Trade, France.

"We believe that China's plan to manufacture its own trunk-line aircraft will usher in a bright future. We are willing to deliver our contribution (to the program)," Idrac said on the sidelines of Aeromart Tianjin 2009.

Although the Chinese aviation authorities are yet to kick-start the outsourcing bid procedures for the high-profile project, the French companies are ready to take advantage of the opportunities that may emerge. Two French companies, Safran and Thales, are keen on providing equipments for the program, Idrac said.

Safran is a French engine and landing equipment producer, while Thales focuses on on-board electronics devices.

The minister said there still exists tremendous potential in the Chinese aviation market despite the global economic woes. "Although the world economy is in a down-turn, we see no reason to slow down our business development plans here in China, (because of the booming local economy and robust market demand)," Idrac said.

During the first quarter of this year, China witnessed a double-digit growth in terms of airline passenger numbers.

French companies have already gauged the potential in China and set up units. Aircraft maker Airbus has already set up a final assembly line in North China's Tianjin.

It is Airbus' third general assembly line. The other two are in France and Germany. The facility is used to assemble the A319 and A320 aircraft.

By the end of 2011, the capacity of the Tianjin final assembly facility is expected to reach four A320s per month. This year, 11 A320s are expected to roll out from Tianjin.

"The project has been put into operation in such a short period of time and I am extremely satisfied with the co-operation between Airbus and its Chinese counterparts," Idrac said.


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