With the U.S. and China locked into a trade dispute and the U.S. and the European Union at loggerheads over illegal aircraft subsidies, Airbus moved to further expand its industrial and commercial footprint in the People’s Republic Wednesday with the signing of an agreement to add A350 XWB capabilities to its widebody completion and delivery center (C&DC) in Tianjin.
Opened in September 2017 as the first Airbus widebody C&DC outside Europe, the facility now works only on A330s. From the second half of 2020, however, it will also perform A350 completion activities including cabin installation, aircraft painting, and production flight test as well as customer acceptance and aircraft delivery. Airbus expects to complete first delivery of an A350 from Tianjin by 2021.
At the end of September, Airbus held firm orders for 733 A350-900s and 180 A350-1000s, of which 331 stood due for delivery to customers in the Asia-Pacific region.
Meanwhile, the Airbus Tianjin A320 family final assembly line (FAL Asia) remains on track to accelerate its production to six aircraft per month by the end of the year, a couple of months earlier than anticipated. The ramp-up accounts for part of Airbus’s objective to reach a global production rate of 63 A320-family jets per month in 2021. It inaugurated the FAL Asia in September 2008, when it carried a design capacity of just three aircraft per month. To date, the Tianjin factory has delivered 450 A320-family aircraft to Airbus’s Chinese and Asian customers, according to the European airframer.
“We attach great importance to our long-term strategic partnership with China and its aviation industry,” said Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury. “Airbus is committed to serving this growth sector with the diverse portfolio it has to offer, and we are committed to working with our Chinese partners to shape the future of the industry.”