Airbus CEO announced on Thursday that the European company would open a second final assembly line in China, which will double its production capacity in the country.
This move is due to the increasing demand for air travel in Asia, particularly from the expanding middle class.
The new assembly line for Airbus’s A320 medium-haul jets will be in Tianjin and will begin operations in late 2025.
Airbus CEO Faury signed the framework agreement for the new site at a ceremony attended by French President Macron and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
During his visit to China accompanying French President Emmanuel Macron, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury announced that the company would open a second final assembly line in China to double its production capacity there.
Faury believes it is a strategic move to serve the growing Chinese market and other regional customers. The first assembly site in Tianjin is currently producing four A320s a month, and Airbus plans to increase that rate to six a month this year.
The new assembly line, located in Tianjin, will begin operations in late 2025 and produce Airbus’s A320 medium-haul jets.
Airbus Expansion Plans
Last year, a Chinese aircraft received domestic certification and were expected to start commercial operation early this year, although it includes imported key components.
Airbus established a factory in Tianjin, China, in 2008, primarily focused on the assembly of the A320 and producing A321neo.
Since then, the factory has delivered more than 600 aircraft, as per the Airbus website. The Chinese government has often utilized aircraft purchases to balance bilateral trade.
After the US trade war began in 2018, Boeing’s sales in China declined. The sales dropped even further after two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, resulting in Chinese regulators grounding Boeing’s 737 MAX planes for almost four years.
In 1985, Airbus debuted in China by delivering an A310 to China Eastern Airlines. As of the end of Q1 2023, the number of Airbus aircraft in China has surpassed 2,100, accounting for over 50% of the market share.