Airbus has taken a new step in its strategic partnership with China, with the ground-breaking ceremony for the A330 Completion and Delivery Centre (C&DC) in Tianjin, China. The A330 C&DC will be located on the same site as the Airbus Tianjin A320 Family Final Assembly Line and the Airbus Tianjin Delivery Centre.
It will be the first completion and delivery centre for Airbus widebody aircraft outside Europe. Some 300 personnel, including nearly 50 experienced employees from the A320 final assembly line in Tianjin and 70 from Airbus’ European final assembly lines, will be working at the A330 C&DC from the start.
The framework agreement on setting up an A330 C&DC in Tianjin was signed in summer 2014 between Airbus, Tianjin Free Trade Zone (TJFTZ) and Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC). The A330 C&DC Tianjin will cover aircraft completion activities including cabin installation, aircraft painting and flight test, as well as aircraft delivery and customer flight acceptance. The aircraft will be assembled in Toulouse while painting and cabin fitting will be performed in Tianjin.
Airbus predicts that passenger air traffic in China will grow well above the world average of 4.6%. The average annual growth for the domestic air traffic market in China is expected to be 6.9% and that for the international market is forecast to be at 6.8%. This forecast is underpinned by China’s positive long-term economic outlook, the growing middle class and the expansion in Chinese outbound tourism.
According to Airbus’ 2015-2034 Global Market Forecast, new deliveries of passenger aircraft over 100 seats and freighters greater than 10 tonnes for China will be around 5,400 comprising 3,630 single aisle aircraft and 1,770 twin-aisle and very large aircraft.
At present, the in-service Airbus fleet with Chinese operators comprises more than 1,240 aircraft. According to Airbus, the A330 is the most popular wide-body aircraft in China.
Customer deliveries of finished A330s from Tianjin are scheduled to begin in September 2017.