Airbus Industrie and BMW Rolls-Royce (BMW R-R) are boosting relations with China's aerospace industry by handing out subcontracts to Chinese manufacturers.

The move will see Aviation Industries of China (AVIC) participating in the new Airbus A318 development programme.

Airbus, which has partnerships with Shenyang Aircraft and Xian Aircraft, has signed an agreement giving A320 wing component production work to state-owned AVIC. The deal follows discussions started last year over the possible transfer of A320 wing production to China, to offset the collapse of the Airbus/AVIC AE31X regional jet family programme (Flight International, 28 October-3 November 1998).

The latest agreement anticipates new offset packages for China, from where 1,381 aircraft orders are forecast to be placed in the next 20 years. The agreement is believed to cover the manufacture of wing rib elements, and may later include items such as spar work. Airbus says it is "an initial phase" of co-operation.

Meanwhile, up to 20 AVIC engineers will be deployed to the Airbus headquarters to assist with the development of the 107-seat A318. This short-fuselage derivative of the A320 was adopted by Airbus after the all-new AE31X programme collapsed early last year.

BMW R-R has signed an agreement on parts supply with China National Aero Technology International Supply (CATIC Supply) and Shenyang Liming Engine Manufacturing.

According to BMW R-R, the agreement "extends from component manufacture to joint research projects".

Source: Flight International