Airbus today delivered the first A320 aircraft assembled at its Final Assembly Line China (FALC) in Tianjin. Airbus president and CEO Tom Enders handed over the airplane to Dragon Aviation Leasing chairman Li Hai during a ceremony in Tianjin to mark the event. Dragon has signed a contract to lease the aircraft to Chengdu-based Sichuan Airlines.
Tianjin party secretary Zhang Gaoli, Tianjin mayor Huang Xingguo, German state secretary for economics and technology Hartmut Schauerte and Sichuan Airlines president Lan Xinguo also participated in the ceremony, which was attended by more than 1,000 guests.
The Export-Import Bank of China, a strategic long-term partner to Dragon Aviation Leasing, financed the purchase of the aircraft. The Sichuan A320 features a two-class cabin configuration, with eight first-class seats and 156 economy seats. The airline plans to deploy the single-aisle narrowbody on domestic trunk routes from its Chengdu base to major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. Schedules call for the first FALC-built aircraft to enter service tomorrow, June 24, on the route from Chengdu to Beijing. The aircraft will join the existing fleet composed of 40 Airbus single-aisle aircraft.
Airbus and a Chinese consortium consisting of the Tianjin Free Trade Zone (TJFTZ) and China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC) officially opened the FALC plant last September. Plans call for the delivery of 11 FALC-built A319s/320s this year and for production to build to four aircraft a month by 2011.