PARIS European aircraft manufacturer Airbus has signed up a deal with Chinese partners - the Tianjin Free Trade Zone Investment Company Ltd. (TJFTZ) and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), for setting up a second factory in China marking its growing engagement with the second largest economy.
Airbus and its Chinese partners Thursday signed a framework agreement on setting up an A330 Completion and Delivery Centre (CDC) in Tianjin, China, taking the partnership between Airbus and China a further step forward following the successful establishment of an A320 assembly line and delivery center in the Chinese city.
The agreement, firming up a letter of intent entered into last year, was signed by Fabrice Brgier, Airbus President and CEO, Yang Bing, President of the TJFTZ and Pang Zhen, Vice President, Commercial Aircraft, AVIC representing the Chinese parties.
The signing was witnessed by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and visiting Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang at Airbus's headquarters at Toulouse in France. Premier Li had earlier this week presided over a Europe-China Economic Forum held in Toulouse.
"The signature of this framework agreement on the A330 completion and delivery centre will open a new chapter of strategic cooperation on wide-body aircraft with China. Together, we will develop new facilities and capabilities, and attract new suppliers and businesses in China," said Fabrice Bregier, Airbus President and CEO.
The A330 CDC Tianjin will be located near the site of the Airbus A320 Family Final Assembly Line in Tianjin. The new facility will cover the aircraft completion activities including reception, cabin installation, aircraft painting, engine run and flight test, as well as aircraft delivery and customer flight acceptance.
Under the project, the A330 Family aircraft to be completed at the A330 CDC Tianjin will be assembled in Toulouse but will be painted and have their cabin furnished and installed in Tianjin.
On the same occasion, Airbus has also signed a Letter of Intent with AVIC on cabin development cooperation and procurement frame contract with Zhejiang Xizi Aerospace Fastener Co., Ltd for design, development, manufacturing, and supply of standard fastener parts.
At present, the in-service Airbus fleet with Chinese operators comprises over 1,150 aircraft (over 150 A330 Family and over 980 A320 Family aircraft).
In the 20 year period between 2014 to 2033 Airbus forecasts a demand in China for more than 5,300 new commercial aircraft over 100 seats plus freighters.
The new cabin-completion factory for A330 jetliners is worth a reported 150 million euro ($166.3 million) and is aimed at attracting new orders for Airbus.
The new joint venture follows China signing a deal with Airbus on Wednesday for 45 new 75 long-haul A330s planes with option of 30 more planes. The confirmed order for 45 planes is worth more than $11 billion.