The National Development & Reform Commission of China and Airbus have announced that the site for a potential A320 family final assembly line in China is Tianjin Binhai New Coastal District, a state level new development zone. This follows the signing of the memorandum of understanding between NDRC and Airbus in December 2005 to further upgrade cooperation between Airbus and China in the field of civil aviation.
Out of 4 cities considered for the establishment of the FAL, Tianjin has been selected after a thorough evaluation including multiple criteria such as, facility site and land, sea port proximity, airport characteristics, labour and industrial capability.
The site selection is an important step, which enables the on-going feasibility study to continue, with an objective to reach a final joint decision on the setting up of the FAL by end September 2006. Subject to such decision, the shared target is to commence FAL operations in 2008 with a production ramp up to four aircraft per month by 2011.
Industrial cooperation between Airbus and China has been steadily increasing in recent years. In addition to the FAL feasibility study, a number of other initiatives are already underway. They include targets for increased parts procurement, as well as the setting up of the Airbus (Beijing) Engineering Centre (A(B)EC) which was inaugurated in July 2005 with a target of 200 Chinese engineers by 2008. Furthermore, a participation of up to five per cent of airframe content in the A350 programme is being proposed to the Chinese aviation industry, with specific design of the parts to be manufactured in China being carried out at A(B)EC.