Airbus expects Chinese carriers to place orders for more A330 aircraft as a result of domestic capacity upgauging, says its chief operating officer and president of commercial aircraft Fabrice Bregier.
Speaking at a media roundtable in Tianjin, Bregier notes that while narrowbodies make up the largest percentage of fleet in China, Chinese carriers have deployed between 50 to 60 widebodies on domestic services. This number is set to grow as China builds new airports, and as the country continues to grow international traffic.
At the same event, Airbus China president Eric Chen pointed out that there are 202 A330s in service with the various Chinese group carriers. He also believes that it is only a matter of time before Airbus lands its first Chinese A330neo order.
FlightGlobal's Fleets Analyzer indicates that Chinese operators of the A330 include the three state-owned airlines, as well as Hainan Airlines group carriers, and Sichuan Airlines. China also has an order backlog of nearly 40 A330s, but no A330neo orders have been placed.
When asked about the recently inaugurated A330 completion and delivery centre in Tianjin, Bregier adds that the new facility is likely to help raise the number of Chinese orders for the A330. The facility will ultimately have an output of two aircraft per month by early 2019, and capable of handling aircraft completion activities including cabin installation, exterior painting, engine runs, flight tests, and delivery.
He also confirmed that the Tianjin facility will be capable of handling A330neos and A350s "with marginal investment."