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Airbus, China get "win-win" fruits from burgeoning Chinese market

09-14-2011 15:31 BJT

An Airbus A319 aircraft, painted with yellow, blue and green stripes on white fuselage, a symbol of rainbows and plateau purity of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, found its home in Tibet as the first airplane of Tibet Airlines in July.

Photo taken on Nov. 22, 2006 shows an Airbus 380, the world's largest passenger jet, parks
at Baiyun Airport after a test flight in Guangzhou City, south China's Guangdong Province.

Labeled with "Tibet Airlines" in Chinese Han, English and Tibetan languages, the A319 sheds a Tibetan flavor -- Tibet-style interior, stewardesses of Tibetan ethnic group in traditional costumes, on-board service in three languages, etc.

More importantly, the airplane has a stronger "heart" -- specially modified engines to Tibet Airlines specification -- for flying above the roof of the world. The systems on the A319 was also modified to supply oxygen for 55 minutes, compared with the usual time of 22 minutes for aircraft that do not serve the plateau region.

The 26-year history of Airbus in China is a path from the bottom to the top, for its present arch rival Boeing almost held the whole market when Airbus first landed in China in 1985. But now it has already griped 45 percent market share.

Airbus' fast growth in China may lie on its strategy of localization, or developing suppliers and building manufacturing centers in the labor-cost country. All Airbus commercial aircraft now have components produced in China with six Chinese companies are involved in manufacturing parts for Airbus jet liners, adding a strong "Chinese flavor" to the big airplane family, even the largest passenger jet A380.

In 2009, the Tianjin A320 assembly line, the first for Airbus outside Europe, came on stream. The joint venture takes charge of assembling four types of Airbus A320 series planes for the world. In the year, however, Airbus, like many other manufacturing companies, was seriously affected by the global financial crisis. But the good thing is the burgeoning Asian market, especially China, rescued the maker out of the mire thanks to its big orders.

In 2010, Airbus delivered a total of 111 aircrafts to China, accounting for one-fifths of its world total, according to the company. Recognizing the importance of the Asian market, Airbus recently unveiled its corporate liners cabin concept for Asian customers, dubbed Phoenix, which features karaoke equipment and a red color theme, an auspicious color in Chinese culture. Also, a round table for family style dining preferred in many Asian cultures can be converted to a square to allow a post-meal game of mahjong.

As a leading aircraft manufacturer, Airbus has long been blamed for providing energy-guzzling mode of transportation. As a matter of fact, Airbus has been making efforts to make its airplanes greener. The first commercial Airbus aircraft fuelled with bio-fuel made a maiden flight in German in July. Deutsche Lufthansa and Airbus jointly launched a flight with Airbus A321 flying the Hamburg-Frankfurt route four times daily will use a 50/50 mix of regular fuel and biosynthetic kerosene in one of its two engines for the next six months. The airline said during the test period the use of bio-fuel will reduce CO2 emissions by up to 1,500 metric tons.

It is said that a similar green commercial flight from Beijing to Shanghai in China would be opened soon, a meaningful thing as China has been blamed for fast growth in CO2 emission.

When the European aircraft manufacturer launched its first aircraft program -- the A300 -- in May 1969, the commercial jet aircraft market was entirely dominated by the United States. Today, Airbus is a leading aircraft manufacturer with the most modern and comprehensive families of aircraft on the market, ranging in capacity from 100 to more than 500 seats.

A380 aircraft, the world's largest passenger jet with capacity for up to 853 passengers, has been a "Sunday punch" to its rivals. Though China has only ordered one A380 currently, Airbus is fully confident more A380s sales in China in recent years under the expectation that China will grow to be the second biggest aviation market in the world within 20 years.

China is developing its C-919 trunkliner, partly enlightened by Airbus and Boeing which together occupy the whole sky. On this, Airbus shows a positive attitude with its President Barrow earlier said "the Chinese market is big enough for three competitors and Airbus was born into competition."

Truly, China's market is big. China's air travel market is growing fast with a total of 267 million air passenger trips in 2010, up 15.8 percent from the previous year and China plans to invest more than 1.5 trillion yuan (230 billion US dollars) in its aviation industry over the next five years to meet surging demand. Meanwhile, the country aims to expand its aircraft fleet to more than 4,500 planes by 2015 from over 2,600 at present.

All these seem to signal that Airbus and China can rake in more "win-win" fruits from the burgeoning Chinese market.

File photo taken on July 23, 2009 shows the ceremony of delivering the first A320 plane at
Airbus (Tianjin) Final Assembly Co. in Tianjin City, north China, June 23, 2009. Airbus
(Tianjin) Final Assembly Co., the first for Airbus outside Europe, has boosted its target
to deliver 36 A320 series airplanes in 2011.(Xinhua/Wang Jianhua)

File photo taken on July 11, 2011 shows a foreign coach Pierre-Yves Bessey teaches students
at an A320 simulator in Airbus-sponsored Hua-ou Aviation Training Center in Beijing,
capital of China. Hua-Ou Aviation Training Center, the joint venture between the China
Aviation Supplies Holding Company and Airbus China Ltd., has trained more than 20,000
pilots, aircrew and technicians since its operation in 1997. (Xinhua/Wang Jianhua)

File photo taken on July 11, 2011 shows staff members of Hainan Airlines learn departing
airplanes with air cushion during urgent situation at Airbus-sponsored Hua-Ou Aviation
Training Center in Beijing, capital of China. Hua-Ou Aviation Training Center, the joint
venture between the China Aviation Supplies Holding Company and Airbus China Ltd., has
trained more than 20,000 pilots, aircrew and technicians since its operation in 1997.
(Xinhua/Wang Jianhua)

Photo taken on July 13, 2011 shows the assembly workshop at Airbus (Tianjin) Final Assembly
Co. in Tianjin City, north China, July 13, 2011. Airbus (Tianjin) Final Assembly Co., the
first for Airbus outside Europe, has boosted its target to deliver 36 A320 series airplanes
in 2011. (Xinhua/Wang Jianhua)

File photo taken on July 13, 2011 shows a worker works at Airbus (Tianjin) Final Assembly
Co. in Tianjin City, north China. Airbus (Tianjin) Final Assembly Co., the first for Airbus
outside Europe, has boosted its target to deliver 36 A320 series airplanes in 2011.
(Xinhua/Wang Jianhua)

Photo taken on Nov. 22, 2006 shows an Airbus 380, the world's largest passenger jet,
arrives at Baiyun Airport in Guangzhou City, south China's Guangdong Province.(Xinhua/Wang
Jianhua)

Photo taken on Sept. 19, 2007 shows visitors watch an A380 model during the 12th Aviation
Expo in Beijing, capital of China. (Xinhua/Wang Jianhua)

 

 

Editor:Zhang Rui |Source: Xinhua

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