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First China-made A320 aircraft to make official test flight next month
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16:33, April 27, 2009

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The first China-made Airbus A320 aircraft will carry out a test flight next month. It is currently taking a ground test and will be placed on an airport runway for a high-speed test in May. The test flight will be carried out during the last two weeks of May.

First A320 aircraft to be delivered to Sichuan Airlines

Recently, Shang Luguo, the General Manager of Airbus (Tianjin) Final Assembly, told reporters during an interview that since September 28, 2008, when Airbus (Tianjin) Final Assembly, which is jointly funded by China and Europe, was put into production, spray painting and engine installation procedures have been completed for the first A320 aircraft.

The aircraft is currently in the process of having its fuel storage tank weighed and is taking a ground test. In May, it will carry out a high-speed test on an airport runway and then take a flight test in the last two weeks of the month. It is presently at a key stage for the aircraft prior to the flight test. The first A320 aircraft is scheduled to be delivered to Sichuan Airlines for operation through Dragon Aviation Leasing at the end of June.

The Tianjin final assembly line is the first assembly line for Airbus A320 series aircraft in Asia, and the fourth worldwide. It mainly supplies aircraft to airlines operating in China and its peripheral countries and regions in Asia.

Financial crisis has no impact on number of orders

Currently, four large aircraft are being assembled simultaneously in the final assembly workshop, making a grand spectacle.

Shang said that the second A320 aircraft, which has also been spray painted, is owned by Hainan Airlines; the third is being built for Shenzhen Airlines and the fourth and fifth are being manufactured for China Eastern Airlines. Each is being customized according to the particular demands of the customers. Although they have been affected by the global financial crisis, none of these Chinese customers have cancelled their Airbus orders.

Chinese production level equivalent to Europe

By the end of this year, the Airbus final assembly plant in Tianjin will deliver a total of 11 Airbus aircraft; 6 of them are A320 planes, and the remaining 5 are A319 planes. The total number of aircraft assembled in this plant will reach 19, with the remaining 8 aircraft being A320 planes. By the end of 2011, the plant will have a manufacturing capacity of 4 aircraft per month or 48 aircraft per year.

The plant in Tianjin has progressed in accordance with a schedule formulated two years ago, to the satisfaction of the company. Fang Anyu, Director of Operations of Airbus (Tianjin) Final Assembly, said that "the quality and workmanship levels for the plant in Tianjin are completely consistent with Europe.”

Wing factory due to start production in October

AVIC Xi'an Aircraft International Aviation Manufacturing (Tianjin), which is presently being constructed according to a tight schedule, will engage in manufacturing wings for Airbus and is adjacent to Airbus’s final assembly plant and will start production in October this year.

This will be the first time that production is localized, with testing as well as the final assembly of Airbus accessories being undertaken in China. The first pair of wings will be delivered in the first quarter of next year. All accessories that Chinese enterprises previously produced for Airbus must be transported to the company's European plants for testing and processing, after which they are sent back to Tianjin for assembly.

The A320 family is a series of twin-engine short to medium-range 150-seat passenger airliners developed by Europe’s Airbus SAS, which consists of four models - A318, A319, A320 and A321 - all of which have the same cabin configuration. The A320 is an aircraft that incorporates real innovations and sets a new standard for single-aisle aircraft. Its relatively roomy cabin provides more comfort to passengers and therefore enjoys increased market competitiveness.

Situated in the Tianjin Airport Industrial Zone of the Tianjin Binhai New Area, the Tianjin Airbus assembly plant now has 420 employees, among which, 310 are Chinese and 110 are foreigners. In addition, more than 30 Chinese employees are receiving training in Hamburg, Germany.

By People's Daily Online

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