Airbus on Wednesday celebrated the opening of its A330 completions and delivery center (C&DC) in Tianjin, China, and handed over the first airplane delivered from the new facility to Tianjin Airlines. Airbus and its Chinese partners in the €150 million venture—the Tianjin Free Trade Zone Investment Company and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC)—expect to see the facility outfit two airplanes per month by early 2019. The center sits adjacent to the site of the Airbus A320 final assembly line in Tianjin, where Airbus produces four airplanes a month primarily for the Chinese market.
The A330 C&DC covers aircraft completion activities including cabin installation, aircraft painting and production flight test, as well as customer flight acceptance and aircraft delivery. Airbus trained some 150 Chinese staff members of the C&DC in Toulouse.
The new plant consists of a paint shop, weighing hangar and one main hangar with three aircraft positions covering an area of 16,800 square meters. Plans call for the A330 C&DC in Tianjin to employ more than 250 people.
“The inauguration of our A330 C&DC in Tianjin, together with the first of many deliveries, marks a new milestone for Airbus’ international footprint and underlines the strong spirit of cooperation with our Chinese partners,” said Airbus COO Fabrice Brégier. “Widebody aircraft completed in China is an Airbus and an industry first that demonstrates our mutual commitment to a strong and growing Chinese aviation sector.”
To celebrate C&DC inauguration, Airbus delivered an A330 assembled and equipped in Toulouse with Chinese and European staff to Tianjin Airlines. Powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines, Tianjin’s new A330 seats 260 passengers in a two-class configuration.
By the end of August the in-service Airbus airliner fleet in China consisted of 1,484 aircraft, including 202 A330s operated by nine airlines.
Airbus forecasts call for domestic air traffic in China to expand beyond any other market in the world within 10 years. Airbus forecasts a 20-year demand in China for some 5,400 new commercial passenger airliners holding more than 100 seats.