Airbus today delivered the first A320 aircraft assembled at its Final Assembly Line China (FALC) in Tianjin. At a grand ceremony, the aircraft was handed over by Airbus President and CEO, Tom Enders, to the Chairman of Dragon Aviation Leasing, Li Hai. The aircraft will be leased to and operated by Sichuan Airlines.
Tianjin Party Secretary Zhang Gaoli, Mayor of Tianjin, Huang Xingguo, as well as German State Secretary (Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology) Hartmut Schauerte and the President of Sichuan Airlines, Lan Xinguo were present at the ceremony attended by more than 1000 guests.
"The highly reliable and efficient Airbus aircraft are very valuable assets of aircraft leasing companies. As a China-based company, Dragon Aviation Leasing is proud to take delivery of the first Airbus aircraft assembled in China," said Li Hai, Chairman of Dragon Aviation Leasing.
"Sichuan Airlines was the first Chinese airline to introduce the A320 Family aircraft in China in 1995. Today, we are proud to become the operator of the first A320 assembled in China. We believe that the Airbus aircraft further enhances our profitability and competitiveness with low operational costs and high reliability," said Lan Xinguo, President of Sichuan Airlines.
"Our Final Assembly Line here in Tianjin and this first aircraft delivery outside Europe mark an important milestone in our strategic long-term partnership with China and the Chinese industry," said Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO. "This FAL is state of the art, second to none in the world. And so are the aircraft manufactured here in Tianjin. I would like to thank all our partners and employees who worked very hard during the last three years to make this happen."
The Export-Import Bank of China, a strategic long term partner to Dragon Aviation Leasing, has been supporting the financing for the purchase of the aircraft. The A320 to be operated by Sichuan Airlines will be in a two-class configuration, with eight first class seats and 156 economy seats. The aircraft will be deployed on domestic trunk routes between the airline's base of Chengdu to such major cities like Beijing and Shanghai. It will enter into service on 24th June on the route from Chengdu to Beijing. The aircraft will join the existing fleet composed of 40 Airbus single-aisle aircraft.
Notes to the editors
The FALC is a joint venture between Airbus and a Chinese consortium comprising Tianjin Free Trade Zone (TJFTZ) and China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC). Eleven A319 and A320 aircraft are scheduled for delivery in Tianjin in 2009 and the FALC production rate will be ramped up to four aircraft per month by the end of 2011.
About A320 Family
The A320 Family, which includes the A318, A319, A320 and A321, is recognized as the benchmark single-aisle aircraft family. Each aircraft features fly-by-wire controls and all share a unique cockpit and operational commonality across the range. More than 6,300 Airbus A320 Family aircraft have been sold and nearly 3,900 delivered to some 300 customers and operators worldwide, making it the world's best-selling commercial jetliner ever. With proven reliability and extended servicing periods, the A320 Family has the lowest operating costs of any single aisle aircraft. Uniquely, the A320 Family offers a containerized cargo system, which is compatible with the world wide standard wide-body system. By the end of May 2009, almost 400 A320 Family aircraft are in operation with 11 operators in China. Chinese airlines have ordered close to 600 A320 Family aircraft in total.
About Dragon Aviation Leasing
Dragon Aviation Leasing Company Limited, a Beijing-based aircraft leasing company, is a joint-venture of China Aviation Supplies Holding Company (CAS), AerCap and Calyon Airfinance. Dragon Aviation Leasing was created 2006 in response to the development of the aviation industry in China. The new aircraft leasing company aims at answering worldwide market demand for aircraft, focusing on China and other Asian countries.
About Sichuan Airlines
Sichuan Airlines was established in 1986 and it started commercial flight operation in 1988. The Sichuan Airlines Co Ltd so far operates 40 Airbus A320 Family aircraft. It is the largest airline in China with all-Airbus fleet (above 100 seats).