SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Airbus’ (AIR.PA) China plant is expected to deliver its first A330 wide-body passenger jet in 2018, one of the European planemaker’s Chinese partners said on Wednesday.
Airbus earlier this month signed an agreement to establish an A330 ‘cabin completion center’ in the northeastern Chinese city of Tianjin, where the firm already has a final assembly plant for smaller A320 jets.
The agreement was signed with the Aviation Industry Corp of China [SASADY.UL] and the Tianjin Port Free Trade Zone. Airbus hopes the increased presence in China would lead to more demand for the profitable but ageing wide-body A330 jets.
In a statement posted on its website, the Tianjin Port Free Trade Zone, said it expects construction of the plant to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2017, with the first plane to be delivered to customers in early 2018.
The plant will help further China’s goal of building its own jets to cater to what is expected to become the world’s biggest air transport market. Currently it depends mostly on imported jets from Airbus and Boeing (BA.N).
Facilities for cabin decoration, painting, and flight testing of the A330 series would also be established in the next 10 years, the Tianjin Port Free Trade Zone said.
The agreement to build the A330 plant, which will be capable of fitting out 2 planes a month, came after China placed an order for 45 A330 aircraft worth at least $11 billion, together with provisional purchases of another 30 planes.
Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman