Airlines

Airbus ups production in China, while Boeing raises its forecast for India

Key Points
  • Airbus wants more single-aisle and widebody planes produced out of China.
  • Passenger trips by air in both countries are soon set to overtake the United States.
  • Boeing has raised its forecast for India's plane demand. 
Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury (L) shakes hands with Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) He Lifeng (R) after the signing of an agreement at the Great Hall of the People during French President Emmanuel Macron's official visit in Beijing on November 6, 2019.
NICOLAS ASFOURI | AFP | Getty Images

Airbus has signed a fresh agreement with China, designed to extend cooperation and increase both the number and type of jet planes built in the country.

On Wednesday, Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury and the leader of China's National Development and Reform Commission of China (NDRC), He Lifeng, each signed a Memorandum of Understanding to build more single-aisle and widebody aircraft in China.

The signing ceremony was witnessed by Chinese President Xi Jinping and visiting French President Emanuel Macron.

Airbus wants to build 63 single-aisle aircraft from its A320 series in 2021. To help achieve that global target, the plan is for Airbus's Tianjin factory to ramp up its production this year to six planes a month from the current three.

Airbus said that a total of 450 A320 type aircraft have now had final assembly at the Tianjin facility since its opening in 2008. The factory line is situated around 90 miles southeast of central Beijing.

A widebody "Completion and Delivery Center," was opened at the same site in 2017 and has already carried out aircraft completion on the long-range A330 model.

Activities at the C&DC include cabin installations, aircraft painting, and production flight tests.

Airbus said its production line at Tianjin would now look to deliver its first A350 widebody jet at some point by 2021.

"We attach great importance to our long-term strategic importance with China and its aviation industry," said Faury in a statement Wednesday.

China is tipped to become the world's biggest domestic aviation market in the next few years, once it overtakes the United States. Airbus's own forecast predicts that the country will need 7,560 new commercial aircraft over the next 20 years.

Airbus shares rose around 0.33% following the announcement.

Boeing and India

As Airbus looks to strengthen its grip in China, rival Boeing has been noting the potential of the other Asian superpower, India.

Speaking to Reuters on Wednesday, the U.S. plane-maker said that India will need 2380 airplanes in the next 20 years, upping its own forecast from last year.

India is currently considered the third largest domestic civil aviation market in the world, but is tipped to leapfrog the U.S. and sit behind China by 2022, according to forecasts from the International Air Transport Association.

Boeing has 2,200 employees in India. In June, the U.S. firm signed a contract with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to help develop a new air traffic management system to deal with busier skies.

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