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Airbus delivers 1st China-assembled A320
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Air stewards of Sichuan Airlines ready to get on board the first China-assembled Airbus A320.
Air stewards of Sichuan Airlines ready to get on board the first China-assembled Airbus A320.

It will be delivered to Hainan Airlines by the end of July.

The factory is expected to deliver a total of 11 A320 aircraft this year to Dragon Aviation Leasing and domestic carriers such as China Eastern Airlines Corp., Hainan Airlines and Shenzhen Airlines Ltd.

Airbus would deliver 70 aircraft to China this year, said Laurence Barron, president of Airbus China, at a press conference after the delivery.

With an investment of more than 7 billion yuan ( US$1 billion), the Tianjin assembly plant started operation in September 2008.

It is 51 percent owned by Airbus and 49 percent owned by Tianjin Zhongtian Aviation Industry Investment Co., a Chinese consortium that includes Tianjin Free Trade Zone and China Aviation Industry Corporation.

China introduced its first Airbus aircraft in 1985. By the end of April, the number of Airbus aircraft in operation on the mainland hit 488, compared with 29 in 1995, according to Airbus data.

Li Jiaxiang, head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, told reporters Tuesday the country's aircraft orders were unaffected by the global downturn.

The country's airline companies would buy 243 aircraft this year, said Li, adding that no other countries would have such a figure.

On Monday, Airbus signed a memo on aviation leasing and financing cooperation with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the country's largest commercial bank.

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