Airbus’ A320 Family final assembly line in China is gearing up for a “changing of the guard” as the facility’s first generation of managers prepare a planned and structured handover of responsibilities to their successors.
Approximately 120 European Airbus managers and employees gradually will begin leaving the final assembly line in Tianjin, with 90 per cent of these positions to be filled by Chinese nationals – underscoring Airbus’ commitment to internationalisation of its industrial base.
“Our mission was to get things going,” said the facility’s original and current head of operations, Andreas Foerster. “In the meantime, our Chinese colleagues have developed fantastically and built up the necessary experience. And, while the final assembly line was still being established, we delivered our aircraft 100-percent on-time and on-quality, right from the start.”
The current team will stay in Tianjin for an additional two months to help acclimate their new counterparts, who have some 120 years of industry experience between them.
Foerster is moving on to a post at Airbus Military in Spain, and will hand over his duties to the facility’s new leader, Dieter Stratmann – who currently is head of long-range forward/aft fuselage at Airbus’ Hamburg, Germany site.
They will work together for six weeks as the outgoing manager familiarises the incoming one with the specifics of Stratmann’s new role. According to Foerster, cultural aspects are as important as technical and organisational facets, and feels that many things have to be approached differently in China.
Stratmann regards his new duties as a logical and welcome step. “I'm looking forward to moving into the role of my former internal customer, as an aircraft builder entrusted with the technical aspects of the entire aircraft, and above all to working with our Chinese colleagues in an international environment,” he said.