Airbus and CFM took the opportunity of French president Emmanuel Macron’s visit to China to sign two deals. Airbus signed a new MOU that adds new capabilities to its Tianjin facility while CFM International signed a deal with a Chinese airline for engine services.
Airbus said it signed a memorandum of understanding on the “Further Development of Industrial Cooperation”. The MOU was signed in Beijing by He Lifeng, chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China and Guillaume Faury, Airbus CEO. In attendance was Chinese President Xi Jinping and Macron.
According to the MOU, both sides have agreed to take practical and effective measures for new initiatives regarding both Airbus single-aisle and widebody aircraft. As part of Airbus’ objective to reach a global A320 Family production rate of 63 aircraft per month in 2021, the Airbus Tianjin A320 family final assembly line (FAL Asia) remains on track to ramp up its production to six aircraft per month by the end of 2019, which is a 50 percent increase compared to its original design. A350 XWB capabilities will be extended into the Airbus Tianjin wide-body Completion and Delivery Centre (C&DC) from the second half of 2020. The C&DC is scheduled to deliver its first A350 aircraft by 2021 from Tianjin.
“We attach great importance to our long-term strategic partnership with China and its aviation industry,” said Faury. “Airbus is committed to serving this growth sector with the diverse portfolio it has to offer and we are committed to working with our Chinese partners to shape the future of the industry.”
The potential of China’s aviation market is huge: While China domestic is set to become the world’s largest market, international traffic to and from China has nearly doubled over the last 10 years. According to the Airbus Global Market Forecast, China is expected to require some 7,560 new aircraft over the next 20 years.
In single-aisle planes, the FAL Asia has been successfully operating for over a decade since its inauguration in September 2008. To date, 450 A320 family aircraft have been delivered from Tianjin to Airbus’ Chinese and Asian customers since. In twin-aisle aircraft, the first Airbus’ widebody centre outside Europe, the C&DC – inaugurated in September 2017 – has successfully performed A330 aircraft completion activities including cabin installation, aircraft painting and production flight test, as well as customer acceptance and aircraft delivery.
Meanwhile, CFM and Colorful Guizhou Airlines finalised a 12-year Rate-Per-Flight-Hour (RPFH) agreement for the LEAP-1A engines that will power the airline’s future fleet of up to 35 Airbus A320neo aircraft, along with five spare engines. The agreement is valued at approximately US$1 billion at list prices. RPFH agreements are part of CFM’s portfolio of flexible aftermarket support offerings. Under the terms of the agreement, CFM Services guarantees maintenance costs for the airline’s LEAP-1A engines on a dollar per engine flight hour basis. “We are honoured to further expand our relationship with Colorful Guizhou Airlines. Our relationship with the Chinese aviation industry goes back nearly 35 years and this new agreement further strengthens these very important ties,” said Gael Meheust, president and CEO of CFM International. Colorful Guizhou Airlines was established in 2015 and has developed routes covering 31 cities in the provinces.