The Harbin Hafei Airbus Composite Manufacturing Centre, a joint venture between Airbus and its Chinese partners, was inaugurated in Harbin, China, today by Tom Enders, Airbus President & CEO, Chinese government officials and partners. The new facility will mainly be used to manufacture composite parts for the A350 XWB, Airbus’ latest aircraft.
The 33,800-square-metre facility is the first of what will be an 80,000-square-metre manufacturing compound, comprising production, technical support, office areas and other services.
Li Fangyong, Vice President of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), said; “The inauguration of the Manufacturing Centre demonstrates we are well prepared for the production of the A350 XWB components. It’s our honour and pleasure to be involved in the production of the world’s most advanced aircraft, the A350 XWB, and to become an integrated part of the global supply chain of Airbus, the world’s leading aircraft manufacturer.”
Tom Enders, Airbus President & CEO, added; “The Chinese have every reason to be proud they are contributing to the A350 XWB. The aircraft will set new standards in terms of eco-efficiency and passenger appeal. The Manufacturing Centre in Harbin and other Chinese partners will play an important role in its success.”
The Harbin Manufacturing Centre will produce A350 XWB components (53% of the aircraft’s structure will be made of composite materials) including rudders, elevators, Section 19 maintenance doors and belly fairing parts – all in all a significant part of the five percent A350 XWB airframe work packages share to be carried out in China. The Manufacturing Centre uses the world’s most advanced equipment and technology, including automated-tape-laying, autoclave, automated trimming, and non-destructive test equipments.
The construction started in June 2009, and the facilities were built to be eco-efficient. Key features to minimise its environmental footprint include the management of heating, lighting, power and electricity systems, careful management of the supply chain and environmental awareness training for employees and suppliers. By 2016, around 600 employees are expected to be working at the Harbin Manufacturing Centre.
Harbin Hafei Airbus Composite Manufacturing Centre is a joint venture between Airbus China and a group of Chinese partners comprising Harbin Aircraft Industry Group Corporation Limited, Hafei Aviation Industry Company Limited, AviChina Industry & Technology Company Limited and Harbin Development Zone Infrastructure Development Company Limited. It started production of A320 elevators, rudders and Horizontal Tail Plane (HTP) spars in December 2009. Chinese companies contribute five per cent of the A350 XWB airframe work packages.
The A350 XWB Family is Airbus’ response to widespread market demand for a series of highly efficient medium-capacity long-range wide-body aircraft, with a range of up to 15,400 km. The A350 XWB has the widest cabin in its category, and Airbus claims it also has the lowest operating costs and lowest seat mile cost of any aircraft in its market segment.
So far, Airbus has won 583 firm orders for the A350 XWB, from 36 customers. Air China is the first Chinese airline to order the aircraft having placed a firm order for 10 A350 XWBs in 2010. Development of the A350 XWB programme is progressing on track towards entry into service in the second half of 2013. The final assembly of A350 XWB will start at the end of this year at the new Final Assembly building in Toulouse, France.