Construction has started on the Airbus A320 Family Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Tianjin, following recent approval by the State Council of the Feasibility Study Report for the project. A formal ceremony was held on site in the Tianjin Binhai New Coastal District, where the FAL is to be located, in the presence of Mr. Tang Jiaxuan, State Councillor and Fabrice Brégier Airbus Chief Operating Officer.
The setting up of the FAL in China includes the construction of dedicated hangars, office buildings, delivery centre and related facilities, including electricity, gas, water and fuel supply systems.
The FAL in Tianjin will be identical to the latest state-of-the-art Airbus single aisle final assembly line in Hamburg, Germany. The aircraft will be assembled and delivered in China to the same standards as those assembled and delivered in Europe.
"The A320 FAL in Tianjin, China is of great significance. Government leaders from both China and European Union (EU) have attached great importance to this project. It provides a win-win result and represents a new achievement of the China-EU strategic partnership", said State Councillor Mr. Tang Jiaxuan. "I believe A320 FAL project will not only enhance the further development of the aviation industry of both sides, but also help promote China-EU economic and trade cooperation. It will contribute to the development of Tianjin Binhai New District and its region", he added.
"Today is a day of great significance for Tianjin, our Chinese industrial partners and Airbus. We are extremely pleased to witness this major step forward which will lead to the assembly of our aircraft in China for the first time. This not only represents a new level of mutually beneficial industrial cooperation between China and Airbus, but also demonstrates our long term commitment to the development of the Chinese civil aviation industry", said Airbus Chief Operating Officer Fabrice Brégier at the ceremony. "The launch of construction of this Final Assembly Line in China will lead to the commencement of its operations by August 2008 as planned, with the aim to deliver the first aircraft assembled in China in the first half of 2009. I believe when the day for the first delivery comes, it will be another great day for you, for myself, for Airbus and for the Chinese civil aviation industry," he added.
The Final Assembly Line in Tianjin aims to ramp up production to reach four aircraft per month in 2011. An Airbus delivery centre will also be set up by Airbus in Tianjin.
The National Development and Reform Commission of China (NDRC) and Airbus signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 4th December 2005 when the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited the Airbus Headquarters in Toulouse, France. The MOU described the process to evaluate the new fields of enhanced cooperation, including the possibility to establish a Final Assembly Line for Airbus single aisle aircraft in China.
On 8th June 2006, NDRC and Airbus announced that the site for the potential A320 Family FAL in China would be in Tianjin Binhai New Coastal District. On 26th October 2006, a Framework Agreement was signed between Airbus and a Chinese Consortium comprising Tianjin Free Trade Zone (TJFTZ), China Aviation Industry Corporation I (AVIC I) and China Aviation Industry Corporation II (AVIC II) in Beijing. Under the Framework Agreement, Airbus agreed in principle to set up an A320 Family Final Assembly Line in Tianjin, and the parties settled the main details of the corresponding joint venture to be created between the Chinese Consortium and Airbus.
The Feasibility Study Report (FSR) was jointly conducted and signed by the Chinese Consortium and Airbus in January 2007 and was then submitted to NDRC for approval.
With more than 50 million flight hours to date, more than 5,000 aircraft ordered and over 3,000 delivered to more than 190 operators, the A318, A319, A320 and A321 make up the world's best-selling single-aisle aircraft family. The current production rate is currently at 32 aircraft per month and will reach 36 by the end of 2008. This is the highest ever for any jetliner, and it is planned to go even beyond.
Designed with advanced fuel-saving aerodynamics, with proven reliability and extended servicing intervals, the A320 Family has amongst the lowest operating costs of any aircraft.
By the end of March 2007, ten operators on the Chinese Mainland operate over 270 A320 family aircraft, with over 370 aircraft still on order. According to Airbus? latest Global Market Forecast, Chinese Mainland will need more than 1,900 single aircraft in the next 20 years.
Airbus is an EADS company.