VIDEO & PICTURES: First A320 assembled in China completes historic first flight

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The first Chinese-assembled Airbus A320 completed its first flight today at 14:56.

Airbus says in a statement the aircraft took off from Tianjin airport at precisely 10:42 and landed back at the airport four hours and 14 minutes later at 14:56.

"The flight was a complete success," says Airbus senior VP flight and integration tests, Fernando Alonso, who describes the flight as an historic event.

The aircraft that took off today is the first A320 to be assembled in China.

Alonso says it "unquestionably demonstrated the same quality and performance as those assembled in Hamburg or Toulouse".

This particular aircraft is to be delivered to Dragon Aviation Leasing in June, says Airbus, adding that it will then be leased to Sichuan Airlines.

Airbus China president Laurence Barron says the Airbus Tianjin assembly plant is the first A320 assembly plant outside Europe.

"Our commitment is to provide the very best aircraft and services to our customers and operators in China, while applying the same rules, procedures and quality standards as for any other Airbus aircraft produced in Europe," says Barron.

"It highlights our commitment to the development of a long-term strategic partnership with the Chinese aviation industry," he adds.

The Airbus Tianjin final assembly line is a joint-venture between Airbus, the Tianjin Free Trade Zone and China Aviation Industry (AVIC).

For more pictures and commentary log onto Flight's Asia Skies blog.