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A320 to get local wings next year
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08:59, September 23, 2009

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Xi'an Aircraft Industry (XAC) will deliver the first set of fully equipped wings to Airbus' A320 aircraft final assembly line in Tianjin in the first quarter of next year, an Airbus executive said yesterday.

The wing equipping work will start next month in Tianjin at a site close to the final assembly line, said Laurence Barron, president of Airbus China.

The A320 wing is the largest and most complicated Airbus aircraft component a Chinese company has ever made. China is Airbus' only wing manufacturer outside Europe. Currently, XAC manufactures the A320 wing box structures in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, and ships them to the UK for installation of moving parts and systems.

Airbus will also create a logistics center in Tianjin to harmonize the transport systems for all aircraft components flowing in and out of China, Barron said.

"We will define a logistics system so that everything made in China will be shipped through one system. The main port for shipping will be Tianjin," Barron said during the Beijing International Aviation Summit.

Over half of the Airbus worldwide fleet has components produced in China. The Chinese suppliers are located across the country and handle their own logistics. The total annual value of Airbus' procurement in China reached over $100 million last year and is expected to touch $200 million in 2010 and $450 million in 2015.

"It will take several years to persuade every supplier to join this system. But we think we can achieve cost savings and improve reliability and reduce damage rate if we have a dedicated logistics system," Barron said, adding that Airbus started such a system in the US a few years ago.

Airbus said earlier that it would outsource 5 percent of its latest A350 airframe work to China. The wide body aircraft is due to enter service in 2013.

"If Chinese suppliers can offer competitive prices, it might even exceed 5 percent," Barron said.

So far, it has signed two A350 work packages, one for rudders and the other for maintenance doors, with its composite materials manufacturing joint venture in Harbin and a third contract for elevators to be signed by the end of this year, Barron said.

The joint venture, located in Harbin, is 80 percent controlled by subsidiaries of AVIC (China Aviation Industry Corporation) with Airbus holding the rest of the stake.

Airbus is also negotiating with Chengdu Aircraft Corporation for allocating the manufacturing of spoilers for the A350, Barron said.

The rest of the dedicated 5 percent work share will come from Airbus' Tier-1 suppliers' subcontracting work to China, Barron added.

Source:China Daily

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