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China-assembled airbus set for test
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08:30, February 02, 2009

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The first Airbus A320 aircraft assembled in China is scheduled to make a test flight in May, about a month before its delivery, an official said here yesterday.

The flight will be held at Tianjin Airport, where a new runway is being built to facilitate trial flights of all A320 aircraft, Feng Zhijiang, head of the administrative committee of the Tianjin Free Trade Zone, said.

Five A320s are currently being put together at the Tianjin final assembly line, the first Airbus production facility outside Europe.

Several major parts of the aircraft were put together in Hamburg, Germany, before being transported to Tianjin for final assembly, Feng said.

"Twelve more A320s will be assembled in Tianjin and delivered next year," he said.

"They will incorporate some locally made parts, including the wings and fuselage. Assembly of the major parts will be done here in Tianjin."

The Airbus A320 final assembly line in Tianjin opened in September as the company's third general assembly line. The other two are in France and Germany. The Tianjin facility is used for assembling A319s and A320s.

In another development, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) has sealed a deal with Airbus on a joint venture in northeast China to jointly produce composite material parts and components for the new wide-body A350 aircraft.

The agreement was signed in Madrid on Friday between Airbus China and Harbin Aircraft Industry (Group) Co (HAIG), a company under the AVIC, in the presence of Premier Wen Jiabao and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

The Chinese side will hold an 80-percent stake in the new plant in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang province, and Airbus will hold 20 percent, the Beijing-based AVIC said.

The plant will be completed at the end of next year, AVIC said.

On Nov 26, 2007, Airbus signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Development and Reform Commission to formalize a commitment to allocate 5 percent of its A350 airframes to the Chinese aviation industry.

Source: Xinhua/China Daily

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