November 11, 2022
BEIJING – European aircraft manufacturer Airbus said on Wednesday that it has started assembling the A321 single-aisle aircraft at its final assembly line in Tianjin, and the first A321 aircraft is scheduled for delivery in early 2023.
The breakthrough expands and deepens its collaboration with China’s aviation industry, and shows its commitment to enhance long-term strategic partnership with China, the company said. The A321, the biggest member of the A320 family, now serves as Airbus’ narrow-body aircraft with the strongest demand globally.
The final assembly line in Tianjin started the adaptation work to become A321-capable in August. It is the first major upgrade of the assembly line since its operation commenced in 2008. Since its first A320 delivery in 2009, the final assembly line in Tianjin has delivered more than 600 aircrafts over its 14 years of operation.
“Since we announced plans to expand the capability of the final assembly line in Tianjin to A321 production last November, the Airbus Tianjin team has completed the relevant adaptation work on schedule by working closely with European experts and our suppliers to overcome the impact of the COVID-19,” said George Xu, Airbus executive vice-president and Airbus China CEO.
“The commissioning of the first A321 aircraft underlines Airbus’ commitment to China, and it marks a new milestone in the industrial cooperation with our Chinese partners,” Xu said.
Airbus has four A320 family assembly facilities globally, and they are located in Toulouse, France; Hamburg, Germany; Tianjin; and Mobile, the United States. By the end of this year, all commercial aircraft assembly sites will be A321-capable, as part of its industrial strategy to meet rising demand of A321 production.
Meanwhile, Airbus has signed agreements with Xiamen Airlines, Zhejiang Loong Airlines and Colorful Guizhou Airlines to promote the use of sustainable aviation fuel for commercial flights in China during the 14th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, Guangdong province on Tuesday.
With these agreements, Airbus and its Chinese operators will further support the green aviation strategy in China. The SAF for those commercial flights is produced locally from used cooking oil by Sinopec Zhenhai Refining and Chemical Co, a State-owned manufacturer in China. The Chinese SAF made by the only certified Chinese facility is also used for delivery flights from Airbus Tianjin.
Since October, the delivery center of Airbus in Tianjin started to offer carriers the option of a 5 percent SAF fuel blend for all single-aisle A320 family aircraft and A350 wide-body aircraft delivery flights.