Airbus plans to give Chinese manufacturers a 5% share in the Airbus A350 programme, but does not expect any Chinese carriers to place orders for the aircraft in the near future.

Airbus China president Laurence Barron says Airbus will sign supplier contracts with China Aviation Industries (AVIC) I and II by year-end covering both mechanical and composite components for the A350.

He says Airbus has committed to giving AVIC I and II a combined 5% workshare in the A350, but has not yet decided which types of parts will be outsourced to China, or which factories will participate in the programme.

Airbus now has 140 firm orders for the A350 from nine customers. Barron says Airbus is confident it will reach its previously stated goal of 200 A350 commitments by the end of 2005, but it is unlikely any of these will be from Chinese carriers. He says Chinese carriers are now only seeking to acquire aircraft for delivery before the 2008 Olympics and are unwilling to consider aircraft that will not be available until after 2010.

For the same reason Barron also does not expect any new orders from Chinese carriers for A380s. So far only China Southern has bought A380s, ordering five for delivery from the fourth quarter of 2007. “In this country the focus is delivery positions before the Olympics in 2008,” Barron says. ”We don’t have any delivery slots until 2010 and the airlines here are focused on the next five years.”

Source: Flight International