The ground-breaking ceremony for the Boeing 737 completion and delivery centre in Zhoushan, near Shanghai, took place on 11th May, according to local media reports. The facility is Boeing's first 737 completion facility outside the United States.
The ceremony comes just days after the maiden flight of China’s own single-aisle contender, the C919, being developed by Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC).
Boeing and COMAC announced in September 2015 that they would open a facility in China for the interiors completion, paint and delivery of Boeing 737 aircraft to Chinese customers.
The joint venture facility is designed to enable future production rate increases at Boeing's 737 final assembly factory in Renton, Washington, while bringing the 737 closer to Chinese customers. First deliveries from the new centre are reportedly scheduled for 2018 and are due to ramp up to 100 aircraft per year.
Airbus already operates an A320 final assembly line and delivery centre in Tianjin and has started work on a completion and delivery centre for the A330 on the same site, with first deliveries expected later this year.
Boeing also has a framework agreement with Aviation Industry Corp. of China (AVIC) aimed at broadening long-term collaboration to support Boeing's commercial aircraft programmes. The agreement includes plans to further advance AVIC's manufacturing capabilities by adding major component and assembly work packages; strengthening leadership; and developing AVIC's broad aviation infrastructure and business practices, including supply chain management.