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May test flight for 1st Chinese-made Airbus A320
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The first China-made Airbus A320 will make its test flight in the second half of May, according to the Chongqing Evening News. The aircraft is currently undergoing ground tests.

The aircraft is assembled at the Tianjin plant. [File]

The aircraft is assembled at the Tianjin plant. [File]

First A320 destined for Sichuan Airlines

"The Airbus assembly line, the first of its kind outside Europe, opened in Tianjin on September 28 and the first A320 has already been painted and had its engines installed," said Shang Luguo, general manager of Airbus (Tianjin) Final Assembly Company. "It will begin high speed runway tests in May and make its test flight in the second half of May."

The Airbus assembly line in Tianjin is the largest in Asia, and the fourth largest civil aircraft assembly line in the world. The aircraft assembled in Tianjin are destined for airlines in China and around Asia. The first China-made airbus is expected to be delivered to Sichuan airlines at the end of June.

Orders not affected by financial crisis

Shang Luguo said that so far no Chinese airlines have canceled orders due to the global financial crisis. The second aircraft assembled will be delivered to Hainan Airlines, the third to Shenzhen Airlines and the fourth and fifth to China Eastern Airlines. Each aircraft is individually customized to meet the needs of the airlines.

Same standards as European assembly lines

By the end of 2009 the Tianjin factory will have delivered 11 aircraft; six A320s and five A319s. By 2011 the Tianjin line will be turning out 48 aircraft a year.

The Chief Operating Officer of Airbus (Tianjin) Final Assembly Company Andreas Foerster said, "The aircraft assembled and delivered in Tianjin meet the same standards as those assembled and delivered in Europe."

Aircraft wing plant will go into operation in October

Another assembly plant in Tianjin, this one intended to build aircraft wings for Airbus, is currently being constructed by AVIC Xi'an Aircraft Industry Group. The plant is expected to go into operation in October 2009.

The first wing will be delivered in the first quarter of 2010. It will be the first Airbus aircraft part to be entirely manufactured, tested and assembled in China. Previously, aircraft parts were sent to Airbus plants in Europe to be tested and then returned to Tianjin for assembly.

(China.org.cn by Ma Yujia, April 28, 2009)

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