Airbus on Wednesday delivered the first A350 widebody jet from its Tianjin final assembly line to China Eastern Airlines, further bolstering its industrial footprint in China relative to rival Boeing Co.
The work conducted in Tianjin on the jet includes cabin installation, painting, production flight test, and aircraft delivery, Airbus said in a statement. Foreign media were not allowed to attend the delivery event in Tianjin.
Airbus has been more aggressive than Boeing in moving parts of its manufacturing process to China in the hope of increasing its share of sales in the world’s biggest market for new planes.
Airbus expects to deliver this year a total of five A350s from Tianjin.
In 2008, Tianjin became the company’s first final assembly line for the A320 narrowbody jet outside Europe, and in 2017 it became a completion and delivery facility for the A330.
Boeing waited until December, 2018 to open its first completion plant in China at Zhoushan for the 737 MAX. But, the model was grounded three months later following a second fatal crash and its return to service has yet to be approved by China’s aviation regulator.
Airbus has been gaining market share in China as the domestic travel market has rebounded to pre-COVID levels