Page last updated at 09:49 GMT, Tuesday, 23 June 2009 10:49 UK

Airbus makes first plane in China

The first Airbus plane to be built in China
The Airbus A320 in question will be used by Sichuan Airlines

Airbus has officially delivered its first Chinese-made plane.

The aircraft, one of the firm's A320 mid-range models, was unveiled at a ceremony at the firm's factory outside the northern Chinese city of Tianjin.

The plane has been delivered to leasing firm Dragon Aviation, and will be used by Chinese carrier Sichuan Airlines.

BBC Beijing correspondent Quentin Sommerville said Airbus hopes its Chinese factory will give it a big advantage over US rival Boeing.

While Boeing makes components in China, Airbus is the first of the world's big two aircraft-makers to have a full production facility in the country, as it aims to meet fast-growing Chinese demand for commercial aircraft.

'Historic day'

"We will build a strong future with the China aviation industry, and for the China aviation industry," said Airbus chief executive Thomas Enders.

Airbus delivers Chinese-made jet

Tianjin mayor Huang Xingguo said the delivery of the first Chinese-made Airbus was "a historic day" for Sino-European cooperation.

"We will further cooperate to write a new chapter in Chinese and European cooperation," he added.

Airbus' Chinese plant will now deliver a further nine planes by the end of this year, with production expected to increase to four aircraft per month before the end of 2011.

The facility is 51% owned by Airbus, with the remaining 49% owned by a Chinese aviation consortium.

China is now the world's second largest market for commercial aircraft, and is expected to buy up to 2,800 passenger planes over the next 20 years.

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Yahoo! News Airbus delivers first China-made jet - Yahoo! News - 41 hrs ago UPDATE 1-Airbus delivers first China-built plane to owner - 44 hrs ago
AFP via Yahoo! Airbus delivers first China-made jet - 46 hrs ago
France24 AVIATION: Airbus delivers the first A320 jet made in China - 48 hrs ago
Xinhua News Agency Airbus delivers 1st China-assembled A320 jet - 50 hrs ago

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