The European manufacturer and China have agreed on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to further develop ties between the two sides, Airbus announced on November 6, 2019. The signing ceremony was attended by several high profile people, including Airbus’ Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury, Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China, He Lifeng, the Chinese President Xi Jinping and the French President Emmanuel Macron.

Currently, Tianjin, China is home to a final assembly line of the A320 family and a Completion and Delivery Centre (C&DC) of the Airbus A330 wide-body jet. The MoU, called Further Development of Industrial Cooperation, will help Airbus to increase its manufacturing capabilities in the Chinese facilities. The manufacturer and the government will take “practical and effective measures for new initiatives regarding both Airbus single-aisle and wide-body aircraft”, states the press release.

Final Assembly Line (FAL) Asia is on track to increase its monthly output of A320 aircraft to six, doubling its original output upon opening in 2008. So far, 450 Airbus A320 aircraft have been delivered from Tianjin to various Asian and Chinese airlines. Furthermore, Airbus has stated that the C&DC will also be capable of accepting deliveries of the Airbus A350 “from the second half of 2020”. It plans that the first A350 will be delivered from Tianjin in 2021.

On September 6, 2019, the Toulouse-based manufacturer signed another agreement to “deepen industrial cooperation” on narrow-body production. Back then, Airbus and Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) announced a partnership for the latter to equip the fuselages of the A320 family aircraft in Tianjin. The first fuselage with AVIC’s equipment is set to be delivered in Q2 2021.

Airbus indicates that the partnership between the manufacturer and China, which dates back to 1985, has reached a total value of $900 million in 2018.

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In the first nine months of 2019, Airbus saw incoming orders drop in half, while delivery results have increased. As a consequence, the planemaker has lowered its 2019 commercial aircraft delivery target. The Airbus A321neo ACF configuration remains a struggle.