Saturday, November 20, 2010

A380 visits Chinese Airbus Factory

Chinese Airbus workers mobbed an A380 superjumbo at the plane maker's north China factory on Friday, ignoring the visiting aircraft's recent publicity woes to revel in China's growth in aviation.

Over 300 staff in "Airbus Tianjin" overalls thronged round the world's largest airliner, parked close to where they are assembling smaller Airbus jets for the Chinese market.

"It is big and powerful," said maintenance worker Ma Yan Ming as he gazed up at the double-decker aircraft.

China is yearning for both those attributes as it spreads its wings in global aviation, challenging Airbus and Boeing for a slice of the plane market worth USD$1.7 trillion over 20 years.

China secured 100 inaugural orders this week for a future 150-seat passenger plane, the COMAC 919, intended as its first viable project to build large commercial passenger jets.

The 500-seat A380 landed in Tianjin to pump up A320 assembly workers after appearing at the Zhuhai Airshow.

By assembling some 10 percent of its A320 planes outside Europe for the first time, Airbus aims to boost sales in China which is expected to double its airline fleet in five years.

The first locally assembled A320 rolled out of the Tianjin hangars in mid-2009.

The China visit was not affected by the grounding of some Rolls-Royce powered A380s following this month's Qantas emergency because the demonstration plane has different engines.


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