Airbus and Xian Aircraft Industry Company (XAC) today signed a cooperation agreement relating to the A320 Family wing equipping (Phase IV) programme. A320 Family wings for aircraft to be assembled at the Final Assembly Line in China (FALC) will now be fully completed and tested in Tianjin, China.
The agreement was signed by Brian Fleet, Airbus Senior Vice President, Wing and Pylon Centre of Excellence, and Mr Meng Xiangkai, President of XAC, in London, in the presence of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Rt. Hon Gordon Brown MP, British Prime Minister.
According to this fourth phase of the agreement, the wing equipping and testing will be done in Tianjin in a facility to be newly built close to the A320 FALC by XAC, a wholly owned subsidiary of China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC). The fully equipped and tested wings will be directly delivered to the nearby Final Assembly Line.
Today, the wingbox structures assembled by XAC in China are completed at Airbus' site at Broughton, before being transported to the Final Assembly Line in China.
Wing equipping operations are expected to start at the end of 2009, followed by the first delivery of a fully equipped set of wings in the first quarter of 2010. The production rate will be ramped up to two units per month by the end of 2010 and four units per month by the end of 2011.
"With this project, Airbus is fulfilling its support to the co-operation agreement regarding A320 China wing manufacture," said Brian Fleet. "Having this facility so close to the FALC is the most efficient industrial solution. It will save transportation costs, reduce lead-time and risks in handling, and ensures quicker response time to our customers."
"We have been successful with the first three phases of the wing programme and we are confident that we will also be successful with this fourth phase," said Mr Meng Xiangkai.
Today, more than 5200 Airbus aircraft are in operation worldwide, and over half of the Airbus worldwide fleet has components produced in China
Airbus is an EADS company
Notes for Editors
The Wing Co-operation Programme between Airbus and XAC started in 1999 when Airbus and AVIC signed the General Agreement on Industrial Co-operation at the Paris Airshow. Under the frame of the agreement, both parties agreed that Airbus would facilitate the transfer of A320 aircraft wing manufacturing technology and capability from Airbus to China.
The cooperation program proceeded in several phases. Phase I started with Shengyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) producing track ribs on the leading edge and Xian Aircraft Industry Corporation (XAC) producing sub-assemblies on the leading and trailing edges.
In the same year when SAC and XAC achieved the first delivery of Phase I successfully, Phase II started with SAC producing the leading edge and XAC the trailing edge. On March 31, 2005, Phase III was signed, under which XAC assembles the wing box structure.
In Phase IV, the wings will be completed in Tianjin with installation of systems, movable surfaces and other remaining structural works and will then be tested.