Airbus opens A350 composite rudder plant in China

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Chinese officials have formally opened a facility for manufacturing the rudder and elevator of the Airbus A350 in the city of Harbin.

The facility, operated by joint venture Harbin Hafei Airbus Composite Manufacturing Centre, will specialise in building composite components for the aircraft, more than half the structure of which will comprise composite parts.

Its production run for the A350 will include fuselage fairing parts and maintenance doors for the twinjet. The doors will be for section 19, the rear fuselage.

The 33,800m2 facility, for which construction began nearly two years ago, has a manufacturing line featuring automated tape-laying and autoclave equipment.

Chinese companies have been awarded a 5% share of the manufacturing workload on the A350. Airbus expects the Harbin facility to employ 600 personnel within five years.

Airbus' partners in the Harbin Hafei venture include Harbin Aircraft Industry Group Corporation, Hafei Aviation Industry Company and AviChina Industry & Technology Company.

The partnership already builds elevators, rudders and spars for the horizontal stabiliser of the Airbus A320.

"Inauguration of the manufacturing centre demonstrates we are well-prepared for the production of A350 components," says Aviation Industry Corporation of China vice-president Li Fangyong.

Airbus expects to begin final assembly of the A350, for which it has orders totalling 583 aircraft, at the end of 2011 in Toulouse.