Delivery of the initial Chinese-built A320 Family aircraft represents a new step in Airbus' internationalisation of its industrial base, and further broadens the company's presence in China's dynamic airline market.
This milestone jetliner was accepted today at the new Final Assembly Line facility in Tianjin, China by Dragon Aviation Leasing for lease and operation by Sichuan Airlines. It was the first Airbus aircraft ever produced outside of Europe, and is a key element in the company's strategic long-term partnership with China and the Chinese industry.
The Tianjin Final Assembly Line is a joint venture between Airbus and a Chinese consortium comprising the Tianjin Free Trade Zone and the China Aviation Industry Corporation. It is assembling the A319 and A320 versions of Airbus' popular single-aisle A320 Family, with 11 aircraft scheduled for delivery this year. The facility's production output will reach the rate of four aircraft per month by the end of 2011.
Aircraft build-up activity began at Tianjin in August 2008, with its organisation and work flow patterned after the latest state-of-the-art Airbus single-aisle final assembly line, located in Hamburg, Germany. The original A320 Family assembly site in Toulouse, France also continues to be active - providing a total of three locations that contribute to Airbus' sustained output of A318, A319, A320 and A321 aircraft.
Delivery of the no. 1 Chinese-built A320 from Tianjin will further expand Sichuan Airlines' all-Airbus fleet, which consisted of 40 A319s, A320s and A321s prior to today's delivery. The Tianjin-assembled A320 is configured in a two-class configuration with eight first class seats and 156 in economy, and is to be deployed by Sichuan Airlines beginning tomorrow on domestic trunk routes from the airline's Chengdu base to such major cities as Beijing and Shanghai.
Chinese customers have ordered close to 600 A320 Family aircraft, with almost 400 in operation with 11 operators in China at the end of May. Worldwide, more than 6,300 Airbus A320 Family aircraft have been sold to date, with nearly 3,900 delivered to some 300 customers and operators around the globe.
Delivery ceremony highlights for Airbus' first A320 built on the Tianjin, China Final Assembly Line are provided in the video clip