Work parties of Chinese technicians destined to start building the first Airbus single-aisle aircraft in the People's Republic later this year are gaining vital experience on the first A320 ever to be assembled in Germany.

The manufacturer's Finkenwerder, Hamburg plant - where final assembly of the A321 and progressively A319s and A318s has taken place since 1991 - will during 2008 extend its capabilities to produce 10 A320 aircraft - until recently exclusively assembled at Airbus's Toulouse plant.

 © Thomas Strassle

The first example, destined for Virgin America, is coming down the line and due to be delivered in May.

Finkenwerder, where large subassemblies of every Airbus aircraft are also manufactured, is central to the ramp-up of the single-aisle model output, which is heading for a new targeted record of 40 aircraft a month by the end of 2008.

Airbus reports that around 180 Chinese technicians are based in Finkenwerder and Toulouse to allow them to learn the assembly techniques which will be applied at the Airbus A319/A320 final assembly plant in Beijing's port city of Tianjing.

Airbus last year concluded a deal with China to establish the final-assembly plant that is due open in August, delivering its first aircraft in the first half of 2009. In October 2006 China placed an order for 150 A320-family aircraft.

Last year, Airbus said its Chinese facility would produce two aircraft a month by the end of 2009, rising to four in 2011. These were included in the targeted total monthly tally of 40 A320 family aircraft - scheduled at that time to be achieved by the end of 2009.

  • Airbus A320 aircraft profile