Airbus has started transporting the first aircraft segments to the new single-aisle assembly line in Tianjin, China. The assembly process of the first aircraft, which is for Sichuan Airlines, will start in August 2008. Delivery of the aircraft is scheduled for the first half of 2009.
Six jigs loaded with parts for an A320, coming from the Airbus production sites in Europe, departed from Hamburg on a barge. It carries the forward and rear fuselage section, a pair of wings, the horizontal and vertical tailplane and engine pylons. The barge will transport these segments to the nearby container terminal at Hamburg harbour, where they will then be transferred onto a commercial container ship bound for Tianjin. The overall transportation to China will last less than one month.
The final assembly line in China is an important milestone on Airbus’ way to become a global company. It enables Airbus to increase its flexibility in the A320-family production by simultaneously ramping-up the production rate to 40 by 2010. The Chinese final assembly line will mainly produce aircraft for the Chinese market, where Airbus expects the passenger traffic to grow fivefold in the next 20 years, causing a demand of a total of 2,670 new passenger aircraft.
The final assembly line in China is a joint venture between Airbus (51 per cent) and the Chinese industry Consortium (49 per cent). The latter comprises the Tianjin Free Trade Zone (TJFTZ) holding a 60 per cent interest, China Aviation Industry Corporation I (AVIC I) holding 20 per cent, and China Aviation Industry Corporation II (AVIC II) holding 20 per cent of the consortium’s 49 per cent overall share.