Airbus Group’s China plant is expected to deliver its first A330 wide-body passenger jet in 2018, one of the company’s Chinese partners revealed on Wednesday.
The international aircraft maker earlier entered an agreement with local firms to establish an A330 “cabin completion center” in Tianjin, which already has a final assembly plant for their smaller A320 jets.
The agreement was signed with the Aviation Industry Corp. of China and the China (Tianjin) Pilot Free Trade Zone.
Airbus hopes that their increased presence in China will lead to more demand for the profitable but aging wide-body A330 jets, the Global Times reported on Wednesday.
In a statement posted on its website, the Trade Zone said that it expects construction of the center to be finished by the fourth quarter of 2017, with the first plane to be shipped to customers as early as 2018.
The plant will help China reach its goal of building its own commercial jet aircraft to cater what is foreseen by experts to become the world’s biggest air transport market. Currently, Chinese airlines rely heavily on imported jets from Airbus and Boeing Co.
Facilities for cabin decoration, painting and flight testing of the A330 series will be built in the next 10 years, the statement said.
The agreement to build the A330 facility, which will be capable of rolling out two planes per month, came after China placed an order for 45 A330 aircraft valued at least $11 billion, along with provisional purchases of an additional 30 aircraft.