Winging it

Airbus has signed an agreement with Xian Aircraft Industry Company (XAC) to complete and test wings for the A320 aircraft at XAC’s facility in Tianjin, China.

The agreement follows a deal between Airbus and XAC in 1999 in which both parties agreed that Airbus would facilitate the transfer of A320 aircraft wing manufacturing technology capability to China under a four-phase programme.

Wingbox structures are currently assembled at Airbus’s UK facility in Broughton, north Wales. The agreement, now in its final stage, will see the operations transferred to Tianjin later in the year, with the first delivery expected in the first quarter of 2010.

More than half of Airbus’s fleet has components produced in China. Airbus said that by relocating its wing production facilities, the wing output would reach around two units per month by the end of 2010 and four units by 2011.

Brian Fleet, senior vice-president at Airbus, said: ‘With this project, Airbus is fulfilling its support to the co-operation agreement regarding A320 China wing manufacture. Having this facility so close to the FALC (Final Assembly Line in China) is the most efficient industrial solution. It will save transportation costs, reduce lead-time and risks in handling, and ensures quicker response time to our customers.’

Meng Xiangkai, president of XAC, added: ‘We have been successful with the first three phases of the wing programme and we are confident that we will also be successful with this fourth phase.’