Visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao today presided over a grand gathering of some 1,000 people in Tianjin to celebrate the completion of the 100th A320 Family aircraft assembled at the Airbus A320 Family Final Assembly Line China (FALC), which is a joint venture between Airbus and its Chinese partners. Among the participants attending the celebration were government officials from China and Europe, representatives of Airbus and its Chinese partners and customers as well as employees of the Airbus Tianjin Final Assembly Line and Airbus Tianjin Delivery Centre, a subsidiary of Airbus in Tianjin.
One day before the celebration, a framework agreement was signed by Airbus, Tianjin Free Trade Zone (TJFTZ) and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), the two parties of the Chinese consortium that hold a 49% stake in the FALC joint venture, concerning the shared intention to continue the cooperation on the project beyond the current business plan, which is due to expire in 2016. The agreement was signed at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing as a part of a series of Europe-China agreements in the presence of the German Chancellor and Chinese Premier.
“The completion of the 100th A320 Family aircraft by the Airbus Tianjin final assembly line represents a significant milestone for the cooperation between Airbus and China, as well as the Airbus strategy of internationalisation, one of the pillars of the Airbus vision for our future,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO. “Having a final assembly line in Tianjin has greatly promoted the Airbus brand and image in China and brought us closer to our customers in one of the world’s most important aircraft markets. I would like to congratulate all those involved in making FALC a great success and contributing to a win-win situation for Airbus and the Chinese industry,” he added.
The FALC is the third A320 Family final assembly line in the world after the ones in Toulouse, France and Hamburg, Germany and the first Airbus aircraft final assembly line outside Europe. In July this year, Airbus has announced its decision to establish an A320 Family final assembly line in the United States.
In December 2005, Airbus and the Chinese government signed a MoU for the establishment of a single aisle final assembly line in China. In May 2007, the construction of the Tianjin assembly line started. In August 2008, the Tianjin final assembly line started operation. In June 2009, the first aircraft assembled in Tianjin was delivered to Sichuan Airlines. Since then a total of nearly 100 aircraft have already been delivered to 11 Chinese operators from Tianjin. Since the agreement for the FALC project was signed, China has placed orders for more than 550 A320 Family aircraft. In the mean time, the in-service fleet of Airbus A320 Family aircraft have expanded from some 200 to more than 700 as of end of July 2012.