Update: Airbus shows strong commitment to continuous development in China-Xinhua

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Update: Airbus shows strong commitment to continuous development in China

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-07-08 23:41:15

The A320neo aircraft handed over to Chengdu Airlines is pictured in Tianjin, north China, July 8, 2024. (Xinhua/Li Ran)

TIANJIN, July 8 (Xinhua) -- European aircraft manufacturer Airbus on Monday delivered its 700th A320 family aircraft assembled at its A320 Family Final Assembly Line Asia (FALA) in north China's Tianjin Municipality.

"It means that at least every third Airbus A320 aircraft in China comes from Airbus Tianjin," said Christoph Schrempp, general manager of the Airbus Tianjin Delivery Center. "It underlines the strong commitment of Airbus to China, the Chinese aviation market and its continuous development."

The newly delivered aircraft, an A320neo, featuring 180 economy class seats, was handed over to Chengdu Airlines. Chengdu Airlines has 50 Airbus aircraft, said Wang Shushi, the company's CEO.

Inaugurated in 2008, the FALA in Tianjin is the first Airbus production line established outside Europe. The FALA has been operating for over 15 years and has become a role model of successful China-Europe cooperation.

Following the delivery of the first Airbus A320 aircraft in 2009, the FALA completed the delivery of the 500th A320 family aircraft at the end of October 2020. In less than four years, it has achieved the milestone of delivering the 700th A320.

"This figure highlights the long-standing and in-depth cooperation between Airbus and the Chinese aviation industry," said George Xu, Airbus executive vice president and Airbus China CEO.

Over the years, Airbus has been expanding its industrial footprint in China, integrating its supply chains with China, which has led to an increasing presence of Chinese elements in Airbus aircraft, Xu added.

Data from Flight Master, a Chinese intelligent air-travel platform, shows that in the first half of 2024, China's civil aviation passenger transport handled about 2.7 million flights, up 14.8 percent year on year.

According to China's five-year development plan for the civil aviation industry, by 2025, its passenger transportation volume is expected to reach 930 million passengers, while the cargo and mail transport volume is expected to reach 9.5 million tonnes.

"China is Airbus' largest single-country market globally," said Xu, adding that the number of aircraft delivered by the company to Chinese customers annually accounts for about 20 percent of its total global deliveries. Airbus has seen its market share in China climb from about 20 percent in 2008 to more than 50 percent so far this year.

George Xu, Airbus executive vice president and Airbus China CEO, speaks during the delivery ceremony of the 700th A320 family aircraft assembled by Airbus Tianjin to Chengdu Airlines in Tianjin, north China, July 8, 2024. (Xinhua/Li Ran)

In recent years, the FALA has also delivered airplanes to airlines such as Hungary's Wizz Air and the Philippines' Cebu Pacific.

China's stable aviation industrial chain enables Airbus to supply globally from production bases in China, thus fueling the development of the global aviation industry, according to Xu.

"We firmly believe that the Chinese aviation market has remarkable potential and will continue to hold an important position. We must seize this strategic market," said Xu.

Now, the second FALA project in Tianjin, which broke ground in September 2023, is being built at full speed and is expected to be operational around the beginning of 2026.

After the completion of the project, Airbus' global production network is expected to include 10 final assembly lines, two in Tianjin (one currently under construction), two in Toulouse, France, two in Mobile, the United States (one under construction) and four in Hamburg, Germany.

"It means that Airbus' A320 family aircraft production capacity in China will account for 20 percent of our global total capacity," noted Xu.

According to the company's market forecast, China's average annual growth in aviation transportation will reach 5.3 percent in the next 20 years, higher than the global average of 3.6 percent. More than 40,000 new aircraft will be needed worldwide by 2042, of which more than 9,000 are estimated to be delivered to China.

"Airbus remains dedicated to strengthening strategic collaboration with China and fulfilling our long-term commitment to this thriving market," Xu said.

Airbus is willing to continue to work hand in hand with its Chinese partners to contribute to the high-quality development of China's civil aviation, and to build a bridge for exchanges and cooperation between China and Europe, Xu added. 

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