Airbus has confirmed tentative plans to establish an A330 completion centre in Tianjin, where the airframer already has an A320 final assembly line.
The airframer has not indicated whether construction of the centre is conditional on an order for A330s from Chinese operators, stating only that the two sides are “still discussing” possible future aircraft agreements.
But it emphasises that the Tianjin A320 line has proven beneficial for the airframer’s business in the country.
Airbus says it has “reconfirmed” an intention to establish the completion and delivery centre with Tianjin’s free trade zone and Chinese firm AVIC.
Chief executive Fabrice Bregier says the centre would “add a new exciting chapter” to Airbus’s partnership with Chinese companies.
While Airbus would continue to manufacture the A330 in Toulouse, some aircraft would be flown to the Chinese completion centre which would then perform cabin installation, painting and engine runs.
A letter of intent for the centre has been signed in Berlin today, in the presence of German chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese premier Li Keqiang.
Airbus views China as a strong market for the A330 and is aiming to secure orders for its high-density regional version of the twin-engined jet.