Airbus delivers first China-made jet
European aviation giant Airbus delivered the first A320 airplane made
at its factory in China on Tuesday, in an event hailed as a landmark in
Guests visit the first assembled
Airbus A320 plane at the Airbus Tianjin plant on Tuesday.
The plane, made at a plant in northern Tianjin, the only
Airbus factory outside Europe, will be delivered to Dragon
Aviation Leasing and will be flown by Sichuan Airlines, a
regional Chinese air carrier. Ten middle-distance A319/320
aircraft will be delivered by the end of the year, before
the factory starts to churn out up to four planes a month
before the end of 2011. AFP
A giant red curtain was pulled back to reveal the jet in a hanger at
the factory outside the northern Chinese city, in a ceremony attended by
more than 1,000 people.
The plane was delivered to Dragon Aviation Leasing and will be flown
by Sichuan Airlines, a regional Chinese air carrier whose markings were
already on the plane.
The jet was the first to be completed at an Airbus factory outside
Europe and Airbus CEO Thomas Enders said it marked a long-term
relationship with China, one of the world's fastest-growing aviation
"We will build a strong future with the China aviation industry and
for the China aviation industry," he said.
"(Airbus) will be working increasingly with our partners in China,
setting new standards." The plane took its first test flight last month
with the first Chinese test engineer trained by Airbus.
Tianjin mayor Huang Xingguo called Tuesday's event "a historic day"
for Sino-European cooperation.
"We will further cooperate to write a new chapter in Chinese and
European cooperation," Huang said.
Ten middle-distance A319/320 aircraft will be delivered by the end of
the year, and the factory will then start to churn out up to four planes
a month before the end of 2011. The Tianjin plant, modelled on Airbus'
factory in Hamburg, Germany, has an investment of nearly 10 billion yuan
(1.47 billion dollars) and went into operation in September in the
presence of Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.
The joint-venture factory, about 120 kilometres (72 miles) southeast
of Beijing, is 51 percent owned by Airbus, a subsidiary of the European
group EADS, and 49 percent by a Chinese aviation consortium.
TIANJIN, China, (AFP)