April 2006 
Volume 04, Issue 11 
Industry Wrap

Airbus eyes Chinese plant

European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., which owns 80 percent of Airbus, said last month it's considering building a final assembly line in China for some of its A320 airplanes.

Such a move could open a new front in the battle between Airbus and Boeing for China, the world's fastest-growing aviation market and a nation where Boeing holds a large-majority market share. "Asia is the biggest growth area," said EADS CEO Tom Enders at a March news conference, according to an Associated Press report.

According to a New York Times report, four Chinese cities are seeking the plant, which would produce up to four A320s a month, industry experts said. According to the AP, Enders said EADS hopes to make a final decision between July and September.

The plant would essentially clamp together parts of the A320. According to The New York Times, two senior executives close to Airbus said the portion of work at a China plant would represent 4 percent to 5 percent of the value of the aircraft. More than half the components for China-assembled A320s would be made in Europe and flown to China, the Times said.

Boeing conducts final assembly for its single-aisle 737 family of airplanes—which competes against the A320—in Renton, Wash. The company uses Chinese firms as suppliers for key components. Among the 737 components made in China are horizontal stabilizers, vertical fins and tail section modules.

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