The first Airbus A320, assembled in the Airbus Tianjin plant, made a successful maiden test flight on May 18, 2009 and it was delivered to Sichuan Airlines on June 23 for formal operation.
With the successful rollout of A320 plane, a flourishing aviation industry, centered on the Airbus A320 final assembly line, is taking shape in the Binhai New Area. As a result, a growing number of aeronautical enterprises have decided to seek their fortune in Tianjin. An aviation industrial chain, with aircraft manufacturing as its core and air leasing and transportation being its pillars, has developed in Tianjin, which also covers research and development, logistics and financial services related to the aviation industry.
Tianjin Binhai New Area Aerospace and Aviation Industry Park (also referred to as the Aviation City) is one of the key functional zones in the Binhai New Area. The Aviation City is adjacent to Tianjin Outer-Ring Road with a planned area of 102 square kilometers. The City, supported by the R&D resources at Civil Aviation University of China and adjacent to Tianjin Binhai International Airport, is a national-level aviation hi-tech industrial base designed to combine international cooperation with homegrown R&D in aviation industry. According to planning, the Aviation City will be built into a modern aircraft assembly hub, a national-level aviation innovation center and a leading airport control and civil aviation equipment R&D and manufacturing base in the country.
Sticking to a principle of “market driven, policy oriented, opening up and cooperation, seeking breakthrough in key programs, and supported by complementary industries”, the “Aviation City” actively follows the latest trend in international aviation industry and aerospace technology development. It seeks to pave a path of development that is suitable to the particular conditions of Tianjin. Through scientific planning, the Aviation City is actively engaged in the development of aviation manufacturing, aviation maintenance, aviation logistics, aviation education and vocational training, and aviation business service, aiming to create an aviation industry cluster that can serve as a model for the development of both the Binhai New Area and the circum-Bohai Bay Area, and Asia’s largest international aviation industry base.
Through joint efforts, the development of the Aviation City’s industry platform is being consummated. The civil aviation high-tech centre program, part of the national comprehensive high-tech industry base, has been ratified. The national industrial base of civil aviation is presently under construction. The construction of the aviation industry garden, with a total investment of 600 million yuan, is right on track making smooth progress. The initial stage will soon be finished and put into operation. The Comprehensive Free Trade Zone also passed national pre-inspection in 2008. The accomplishment of these platforms will provide the development of the aviation industry with a more efficient operation environment and a unique policy advantage, giving impetus to the independent innovation, integrated innovation and indraught assimilation innovation of the aviation industry.
Tianjin Airlines Ltd., a joint venture between HNA Group, Tianjin Port Free Trade Zone and Hainan Airlines Co. was founded on June 8. Tianjin Airlines is renamed after Grand China Express Air, the biggest regional airlines in China that accounts for 40 percent of the country’s regional aircraft fleet. Grand China Express Air is formerly controlled by HNA Group. Tianjin Airlines, headquartered in Tianjin Binhai International Airport, has a registered capital of 1.3 billion yuan. The founding of the airliner filled a blank in the city’s aviation industry, becoming the first local carrier.
Tianjin’s aviation industry is taking shape now. The city now boasts a cluster of aviation-related industries such as Airbus A320 final assembly line, CVIC’s helicopter project, US aviation company Goodrich Corporation’s nacelles manufacturing facility, Thales’ radar assembly line, STTS aircraft painting service and Canada’s FTG aviation meter production and German Lufthansa and Hainan Airline’s aviation leasing and Tianjin Airlines Co., Ltd., covering a wide range of business such as aircraft manufacturing, R&D, parts, aviation leasing and logistics. The Airbus A320 assembly line is the first such facility Airbus has outside Europe and it is expected to have a monthly output of 4 aircrafts by 2011. CVIC’s helicopter project will include the construction of a headquarter for CVIC’s helicopter operations, R&D base, assembly line and customer service and other complementary facilities, becoming a homegrown R&D hub. The Airbus A320 assembly line has been completed at the end of August, 2009. A flourishing aviation industry is taking shape.