China conducts maiden flight of locally assembled A320

The first A320 aircraft assembled outside Europe in the Airbus Final Assembly Line China (FALC) successfully completed its first four hour and fourteen minute test flight today in the northeastern Chinese city of Tianjin.

''The flight was a complete success thanks to excellent teamwork,'' said Fernando Alonso, Senior Vice President Flight & Integration Tests, Airbus. ''I was delighted to participate in this historic flight. This A320 assembled in China unquestionably demonstrated the same quality and performance as those assembled and delivered in Hamburg or Toulouse.''

This first aircraft will be delivered to Dragon Aviation Leasing in June from the Airbus Delivery Centre in Tianjin and will be operated by Sichuan Airlines.

Chinese customers have ordered more than 700 aircraft from Airbus, the majority of which are from the A320 Family. Eleven A319/A320 aircraft are scheduled for delivery in Tianjin in 2009 and the FALC production rate will be ramped up to four aircraft per month by the end of 2011.

More than 470 Airbus aircraft already are in operation with airlines in China, Hong Kong and Macau. China Southern Airlines has ordered five A380s, and the potential for further Airbus growth in the region is huge.

Within the next 20 years, China is expected to become the second biggest aviation market in the world. By 2020, some 100 million Chinese tourists will be travelling internationally.