Four local airlines are due to receive eleven Airbus A320 aircraft assembled in Tianjin, China this year, the general manager of Airbus Tianjin general assembly line announced yesterday.
The four Chinese airlines are Sichuan, Shenzhen, Hainan and China Eastern Airlines, with China Eastern and Hainan being the two leading customers, Jean-Luc Charles, general manager of Airbus (Tianjin) Final Assembly Company Ltd, told China Daily.
The first Airbus A320 aircraft assembled in Tianjin is expected to be delivered in June to Dragon Aviation Leasing, who will lease the jetliner to Sichuan Airlines. The remaining eleven A320s will go to the other three Chinese airlines, with China Eastern and Hainan Airlines expected to take a bigger share.
“According to the current plan, China Eastern and Hainan Airlines are supposed to take most of the 11 A320s under assembly or to be assembled in Tianjin this year,” Xu Gang, deputy general manager of Airbus (Tianjin) Final Assembly Company Ltd, added.
A total of 11 such aircraft are to come off the Tianjin general assembly line, the first Airbus production facility outside Europe, this year.
Currently, components for A320 assembled in the Tianjin facility come from Europe. The Airbus Tianjin general assembly line will source more parts from local suppliers, Charles said.
By the end of 2011, the capacity of the Tianjin assembly facility is expected to reach four A320s per month and 48 aircraft per year, according to Charles.
Despite current economic woes, Charles showed great confidence in China’s civil aviation market.
“Although it is a difficult time, there exist a great number of passengers traveling by air in China. And Chinese airlines are busy restructuring and improving their performance. Therefore, we are confident in the local market potential,” Charles stressed.
Airbus A320 Aircraft rolling off the Tianjin facility is set to supply Chinese airlines because of the robust local demand.
However, Charles did not rule out the possibility for the Tianjin general assembly line to feed other Asian markets in the future.
Tianjin Mayor Huang Xinguo told Xinhua News Agency earlier in March that another 15 A320 aircraft are scheduled to come off the assembly line next year, and orders have been secured for the next three years until 2012. Production has been planned up to 2016, said Huang, also an NPC deputy.
The line is expected to deliver a total of 286 airplanes by 2016, Huang added..
The Airbus A320 final assembly line in Tianjin was launched in September last year with a total estimated investment of 8 billion to 10 billion yuan.
It is Airbus' third general assembly line—the other two are in France and Germany. The Tianjin facility is used for assembling A319 and A320 aircraft.