Airbus may join China’s aircraft project

September 26th, 2008 - 7:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Tianjan (China), Sep 26 (Xinhua) Leading aircaft manufacturer Airbus may join China’s large passenger plane project, its chief executive said Friday.The Chinese aviation market is expected to be as important as its US and European counterparts in the next 20 to 30 years, and one of Airbus’ future strategies is to enhance cooperation with China, Thomas Enders told reporters here.

Enders said he did not see China’s plan for making large passenger aircraft as a threat to his company.

China set up its first jumbo passenger aircraft company in Shanghai in May. The company, named Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd. (CACC), is expected to produce aircraft with a take-off weight of more than 100 tonnes, or planes with more than 150 seats.

Jin Zhuanglong, the company’s general manager, told Xinhua earlier that “it is too early to set a timetable or make development strategy,” adding that the CACC will pose no threat to giants like Boeing and Airbus.

According to Jin, China welcomes cooperation from foreign companies in the development of the new aircraft. However, the goals of the CACC for the first few years will be establishing an operating system and training talents.

The Shanghai Aircraft Manufacturing Factory and the First Aircraft Institute of China Aviation Industry Corporation I (AVIC I), which were involved in the development and manufacture of the country’s first homegrown regional jet ARJ21-700, have joined hands with the CACC in the plan.

Enders confirmed possibility of providing key technologies to China’s own big aircraft projects.

“We look forward to strengthening research and development with Chinese enterprises and will probably triple outsourcing volume in China, which is to reach half a billion dollars in the next couple of years,” he added.

He also told the press that the Tianjin-based Airbus A320 manufacturing plant will be formally inaugurated Sep 28. The assembly plant is a joint venture between Airbus and Tianjin Zhongtian Aviation Industry Investment Co., a Chinese alliance of the AVIC I, AVIC II, and Tianjin Bonded Zone Investment Group.

The assembly line project, with an estimated investment of up to 10 billion yuan ($1.3 billion), is expected to have an annual capacity of 44 aircraft by 2011, sources with the project said.

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