Airbus set to deliver first China-made A320

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Airbus is set to deliver the first A320 to be assembled in China on Tuesday, a month after the aircraft had its first flight.

Dragon Aviation Leasing will own the narrowbody aircraft, which Sichuan Airlines will lease and operate on its regional routes. A second aircraft is likely to be delivered in July and Airbus expects to produce 10 by end-2009. The production rate is expected to be ramped up to four a month before end-2011.

The facility in Tianjin is the first A320 assembly plant outside Toulouse, France. It is a joint-venture between Airbus, the Tianjin Free Trade Zone and state-owned China Aviation Industry (AVIC)

China accounts for 15% of total Airbus sales and observers say that the assembly plant is a sign of the company's confidence in the country's airline industry.