European plane maker Airbus said on Friday it formally signed a contract with Chinese partners to create a joint venture to make carbon-fibre composite parts in China for its A350 XWB and A320 aircraft.
As announced in a framework agreement in July 2008, EADS unit Airbus’ Chinese business will hold a 20% stake in the joint venture, based in the Northeastern city of Harbin. China’s Harbin Aircraft Industry Group Company Limited will hold a 50% stake in the new business, while other local players HAI, AviChina and HELI will each own 10%, Airbus said. Manufacturing operations are expected to start in September 2009 and a new plant should be ready for operations by the end of 2010, it said.
Airbus, which has agreed to build 5% of the forthcoming A350 wide-bodied jet’s airframe in China, will deliver its first Chinese-assembled A320 to Sichuan Airlines in July, according to an internal company memo. The Toulouse, France-based group said the value of its partnership with the Chinese aviation industry is expected to be near $200 million per year in 2010 and $450 million in 2015. (Reuters)