Guests attend the inauguration ceremony of Airbus A330 Completion and Delivery Centre (CDC) in Tianjin, north China, Sept. 20, 2017. (Xinhua/Zhang Jianxin)
Airbus Wednesday inaugurated its A330 Completion and Delivery Center (CDC) in Tianjin, north China, marking the first such center for its wide-body aircraft outside Europe.
As a global aeronautics leader, Airbus is taking further steps to expand its global footprint and strategic partnership with China, the company said.
"The inauguration of our A330 CDC in Tianjin, together with the first of many deliveries, marks a milestone for Airbus' international footprint and underlines the strong spirit of cooperation with our Chinese partners," said Fabrice Bregier, Airbus COO and president of Commercial Aircraft.
"Completing wide-body aircraft in China is an Airbus, and an industry, first which demonstrates our mutual commitment to a strong and growing Chinese aviation sector," Bregier said.
Airbus Wednesday also delivered its first A330 jointly completed by European and Chinese staff to Tianjin Airlines. This aircraft was completed in Toulouse, France.
It is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines, with a two-class configuration of 260 seats in total.
The A330 CDC will employ more than 250 people and will be able to deliver two aircraft per month by early 2019, according to Airbus.
The center is located at the same site as the Airbus Tianjin A320 Family Final Assembly Line and Airbus Tianjin Delivery Center, which were established in 2008.
About 150 Chinese staff have been trained by Airbus in Toulouse to work at the CDC.
The center will complete tasks such as cabin installation, aircraft painting and production flight testing, as well as customer flight acceptance and aircraft delivery, according to Airbus.
The center is composed of a paint shop, weighing hangar and main hangar with three aircraft positions.
"Compared to single-aisle aircraft, the cabin installation of the A330 is more complicated, which means we are conducting complex manufacturing and integration tasks in China," said Francois Mery, COO of Airbus Commercial Aircraft China.
In July 2015, Airbus and its Chinese partners, Tianjin Free Trade Zone Investment Company Ltd. and state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China, signed a framework agreement to set up the center in Tianjin.
Construction began on March, 2, 2016, with a total investment of around 200 million U.S. dollars, according to Airbus.
China introduced its first Airbus aircraft in 1985. Now nearly 1,500 are being operated by Chinese airlines, accounting for around half of the total fleet of aircraft over 100 seats in the country.
Along with the continuous growth of its fleet in China, Airbus is expanding its industrial footprint in the country. It has five joint ventures with Chinese partners in training and support, engineering, final assembly and composite manufacturing.
As of Sept. 6, some 335 A320 family aircraft had been assembled in and delivered from Tianjin.
In 2015, the total value of industrial cooperation between Airbus and the Chinese aviation industry reached 500 million U.S. dollars.
"We will continue our partnership with one of world's largest aviation markets. Airbus has set a target for the industrial cooperation figure to reach 1 billion U.S. dollars per year by 2020," said Mery.