Inaugural flight of first Chinese-assembled A320
Airbus marked a new milestone in the expansion of its global industrial network with the maiden flight of the initial A320 built at the new Chinese final assembly line in Tianjin.
This aircraft – which is the first assembled outside of Airbus's European production system – will be delivered to Sichuan Airlines via Dragon Aviation Leasing in June, followed by 10 more A319/A320s for Chinese customers before the end of 2009.
Airbus is maintaining its plans to ramp up the Tianjin final assembly line's output to four aircraft per month by the end of 2011, responding to China's growing market requirement for highly efficient single-aisle aircraft. Currently, nine jetliners are in the final assembly line process at Tianjin, with the next aircraft in this flow – an A319 – now undergoing the installation of its engines.
The Tianjin facility – formally known as the Airbus Final Assembly Line China (FALC) – is an Airbus joint venture with a Chinese consortium composed of the Tianjin Free Trade Zone (TJFTZ) and China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC).
Aircraft build-up activity at Tianjin began in August 2008, with its organisation and work flow patterned after the latest state-of-the-art Airbus single-aisle final assembly line, located in Hamburg, Germany. The original A320 Family assembly site in Toulouse, France also continues to be active – providing three locations that contribute to Airbus' sustained output of A318, A319, A320 and A321 aircraft.
Airbus's worldwide order book for A320 Family aircraft currently stands at more than 6,320 jetliners, with some 3,860 delivered to a diverse base of international customers. These single-aisle jetliners are used for a full range of operations, including mainline and low-cost airline service, as well as in corporate, VIP and government transportation.
There are some 488 Airbus aircraft currently operated by Chinese mainland carriers, with A320 Family jetliners accounting for more than 80 per cent of this fleet.