China-assembled A320 to take off in May

The first Airbus A320 aircraft assembled in China is scheduled to make a test flight in May, about a month before its delivery, an official in the northern port city Tianjin said Sunday.

The test flight will be held at Tianjin Airport, where a new runway is being built to facilitate trial flights of all A320 family aircraft, said Feng Zhijiang, head of the administrative committee of the Tianjin Free Trade Zone.

Currently five A320 planes are being assembled at the Tianjin final assembly line, the first Airbus production facility outside Europe, Xinhua reported.

Feng said major parts of the aircraft had been put together in Hamburg of Germany before being transported to Tianjin for final assembly.

"Another 12 China-assembled A320 will be delivered next year," he said. "They will adopt Chinese-made parts, including wings and fuselage, and assembly of the major parts will also be done here in Tianjin."

The Airbus A320 final assembly line in Tianjin was launched in September as the company's third general assembly line. The other two are in France and Germany. The Tianjin facility is used for assembling A319 and A320 aircraft.

In another development, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) has sealed a deal with Airbus on a joint venture in northeast China to jointly produce composite material parts and components for the new wide-body A350 aircraft.

The agreement was signed in Madrid on Friday between Airbus China and Harbin Aircraft Industry (Group) Co. (HAIG), a company under the AVIC.

The Chinese side would hold an 80-percent stake in the new plant in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang Province, and Airbus would hold the remaining 20 percent, said the Beijing-based AVIC.

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