Airbus announces expansion of its operations in China

The European group also signed general terms of an agreement for the sale of 160 jets in the country and a cooperation plan in the production of sustainable aviation fuel

Airbus announced on April 6 the signing of a series of agreements in China, the main one being the expansion of the final assembly of aircraft at the company’s facilities in Tianjin – which is carried out in partnership with the local manufacturer AVIC.

The announcement of the signing of the new agreements came a day after French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen arrived in Beijing. The entourage of European politicians and businessmen is joined by Airbus representatives.

According to Airbus, the new assembly line in Tianjin will support efforts to meet demand for single-aisle aircraft. Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said the deal will contribute to Airbus’ overall target of (delivering) 75 aircraft per month by 2026 across its global production network.

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The Airbus assembly line in China has been operating since 2008. The unit began its activities producing the A320 model and was later qualified to manufacture the A321.

Currently, the site also has completion centers for A330 and A350 widebodies. According to the European group, the assembly line in Tianjin has already finished more than 600 aircraft.

Tianjin assembly line (Airbus)

More orders from China

Another important deal closed by Airbus in China was the General Terms Agreement with China Aviation Supplies Holding Company (CAS) for 160 aircraft, 150 of which are A320 jets and 10 A350-900. CAS is China’s largest commercial aircraft leasing company. For the European manufacturer, this new agreement “reflects the strong demand in all market segments by Chinese carriers”.

Agreement on Sustainable Aviation Fuel

A third agreement was signed between Airbus and the China Natioton Aviation Fuel Group (CNAF) in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding to “intensify Chinese-European cooperation on the production, competitive application and common standards formulation for Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF)” , informed the European group.

“Earlier in September 2022, Airbus and CNAF contracted to support commercial and delivery flights in China to be operated with SAF. By the end of March, 17 delivery flights and a first commercial flight were facilitated by the two partners”, added Airbus.

China Eastern Arlines A300-600 (Airbus)

Airbus arrived in China in 1985

Airbus entered the Chinese market almost 40 years ago, in 1985, when an A310 was first delivered to China Eastern Airlines. As of the end of the first quarter of 2023, Airbus’ service fleet in China has increased to more than 2,100 aircraft, representing more than 50% of the market.

“We are honored to continue our long-standing cooperation by supporting China’s civil aviation growth with our leading families of aircraft. It underpins the positive recovery momentum and prosperous outlook for the Chinese aviation market and the desire to grow sustainably with Airbus’ latest generation, eco-efficient aircraft,” said Faury.


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