Houston Community News >> China Government Approves Airbus Factory

6/10/2006 China -- The Chinese government has given the formal go-ahead for an assembly plant for Airbus A320 narrow-body airliners to be built in the northern port city of Tianjin. Confirmation of the move to locate the first Airbus factory outside Europe came from the official Xinhua Chinese news agency yesterday.

Tianjin is about an hour's drive from the capital Beijing and was one of four cities competing for the new plant which will have capacity to make about 50 jets a year. Airbus hopes the plant will give it an edge over American rival Boeing in the race to secure a flood of new orders expected as Chinese demand for short-haul aircraft ramps up over the next two decades. The company has said it lacks the capacity in Europe to supply the expected huge demand for new planes in the short term.

Currently wings for Airbus short-haul jets are made at Deeside and flown to Toulouse in France for final assembly of the aircraft. The move to open up a Chinese manufacturing facility is not expected to have any impact on employment levels or aircraft production rates at the Deeside site which has a backlog of work that will take several years to clear. Airbus and French officials have said China is likely to take a five to 10% stake in a program to replace the A320.

(Contributed by the Daily Post)

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