Airbus and China Aviation Industry Corporation II (AVIC II) have agreed to set up an engineering centre in the form of a joint venture in Beijing. The facility will in particular perform aircraft specific design work for the A350 programme.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin attended the signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
There are plans to recruit 200 engineers for the engineering centre by 2008 and the first group of engineers from AVIC II have already started their training programme. The centre is to be located in the Tianzhu Airport Industrial Zone, adjacent to the offices of Airbus China.
“China has a solid foundation in the aviation industry with a number of excellent professionals,” said Philippe Delmas, Airbus Executive Vice President Government Relations, Communications and External Affairs. “We believe that the Chinese engineers, together with their colleagues in other Airbus engineering centres in the world, will be able to make significant contributions to the design of Airbus aircraft in the future. The engineering centre will also enable China to increase substantially the number of world-class aircraft engineers.”
“In recent years we have been delighted to see that Airbus has constantly increased procurement in China. The establishment of this engineering centre signals that Airbus is committed to strengthening industrial cooperation with China,” said AVIC II Vice President Xu Zhanbin. “We are most pleased to participate in this significant programme and are looking forward to expanding cooperation with Airbus.”
Airbus is committed to the long-term development of China’s aviation industry. The setting up of the centre is intended to enhance and develop a close relationship between Airbus and the Chinese aerospace industry, with a view to China becoming a full risk-sharing partner in a future Airbus programme for new generation aircraft. A risk-sharing partner takes complete responsibility for a part of a programme, from design to manufacturing, including the corresponding investment and profit sharing.
The engineering centre in China will work with the most modern Airbus technologies and to the most advanced standards, participating in both existing and future programmes.
Airbus signed an agreement last October outlining plans to further increase its procurement from China, that is projected to reach an annual total of $ U.S. 120 million by 2010, double the $ U.S. 60 million target for 2007.
Airbus’ business in China has been steadily expanding since it first entered the country in 1985. The Airbus fleet in service on the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Macao has grown to more than 280 today from just 29 in 1995. A world-class training and support centre, which represents a US$80 million investment by Airbus, is fully operational in Beijing.
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