China's AVIC builds CNY8 billion engine assembly centre

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China took another step forward in its goal to develop a local powerplant industry when it broke ground for the country's first aircraft engine assembly and testing centre on 29 February.

The centre, located in Shanghai's Lingang Industrial Park and covering an area of about 1,200 acres, will be divided into six segments for research and development, testing, assembly and maintenance of the engines, said AVIC in a statement.

The assembly line is expected to be up and running by 2014 and fully operational by 2020.

The yuan (CNY) 8 billion facility is wholly owned by AVIC Commercial Aircraft Engine (ACAE), in which Aviation Industry Corp of China (AVIC) holds a controlling stake.

ACAE was set up in 2009 to develop engines for the country's C919 aircraft.

The C919, which is expected to have its first flight in 2014, will initially be powered by the CFM International Leap-1XC, before switching to home-grown engines when its fully developed.

ACAE has completed the comprehensive design of the engine and is now working on its components.