China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC 1) and Airbus signed a protocol to confirm the extension of their cooperation in activities to produce A320 Family wing boxes in China. The protocol was signed today in London during Chinese President Hu Jintao's official visit to Britain.

Iain Gray, Airbus General Manager and Yang Yuzhong, Executive Vice President of AVIC 1, signed the protocol in the presence of the Chinese President Hu Jintao and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The protocol refers to the initial contract, with a projected total value of over US$ 500 million, signed in Beijing earlier this year between Airbus and AVIC 1, which committed the parties to the third phase of the A320 Family Wing Cooperation Programme, comprising the production of wing boxes and now also including the management of a second tier supply chain. It represents further significant progress in Airbus’ overall programme of technology transfer to the Chinese aviation industry.

"The A320 Family Wing Cooperation Programme is a key industrial cooperation programme between Airbus and AVIC I," said Yang Yuzhong, AVIC I Executive Vice President. "We have successfully kicked off the third phase of the programme in April this year. With joint efforts and close cooperation of the two sides, we are very confident that we can gradually undertake the production of whole wing box packages for the A320 Family."

Iain Gray, Airbus General Manager, said: "Airbus is committed for the long term to substantially increase industrial cooperation with the Chinese aviation industry. The A320 Wing Cooperation Programme has set an excellent example of mutually beneficial cooperation between Airbus and the major Chinese manufacturers. Airbus has no comparable project with any other country. We are looking forward to extending the scope and improving the levels of cooperation with our Chinese partners."

Today, five Chinese companies are involved in producing parts for Airbus aircraft: Chengdu Aircraft Corporation, Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, Xi'an Aircraft Company, Hong Yuan Aviation Forging & Casting and HAFEI Aviation Industry Co. Ltd.

In industrial cooperation with China, Airbus is not only committed to technology transfer, but also committed to further increasing procurement volume to reach US$ 60 million per annum by 2007 and US$120 million by 2010.

With regard to research and development, Airbus formally inaugurated Airbus (Beijing) Engineering Centre in July this year and has so far already recruited 54 Chinese engineers. Airbus is also offering the Chinese aviation industry up to five per cent of airframe work share in the latest A350 project, which saw its industrial launch on October 6, 2005.

Today, more than 3,800 Airbus aircraft are in operation worldwide, and over half of the Airbus worldwide fleet has components produced in China.

Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE Systems.