Airbus commercial aircraft entered the Chinese market in 1994. Despite rapid growth, our aircraft only commanded a market share of 20 per cent a decade ago. Today Airbus accounts for almost 50 per cent with more than 1600 aircraft already in operations in this fast-growing market and is thus the most important aerospace company in China. The growth of the Chinese market is enormous: by 2020, Airbus aims to deliver its 2000th aircraft to Chinese airlines.
The relationship between Airbus and China extends far beyond that of producer and buyer.
The establishing of a Final Assembly Line (FAL) for Airbus’s bestselling A320 family in the city of Tianjin ten years ago triggered the beginning of a cooperation which is now seen as a model of Sino-European success, benefitting both China and the European Union. That FAL exemplifies the best of this cooperation: It secures employment along the supply-chain, in manufacturing as well as in the assembling of the aircraft, both in Europe and in China. With free trade being questioned in several countries across the world, Airbus’s internationalisation strategy has given us a competitive advantage in the two largest aerospace markets in the world, the US and China. The successful negotiations between the EU and China on a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) are encouraging steps towards preserving good trade relationships.