Despite current political and trade tensions between the US and China, aero-industrial co-operation between the two countries – and between China and the West in general – has strengthened.
Over the weekend Boeing delivered the first aircraft from its 737 completion center in Zhousan, China.
The Boeing 737 Max 8 was assembled in Renton, Washington, and completed in Zhousan ahead of delivery to Air China under an ICBC Aviation Leasing finance lease.
The 666,000sq-ft facility in Zhousan is a joint venture with Chinese state-owned OEM Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC).
It is intended to complete all further interior work for Max aircraft bound for Chinese airlines, which comprise about one third of the new narrowbody’s customer base.
The facility, which is adjacent to Boeing’s Zhousan delivery center, will eventually also comprise three paint hangars for aircraft painting work.
Nonetheless, Boeing has not pursued as deep a partnership in China as Airbus, which has had a final assembly line for A320s in Tianjin since 2008
Since its opening, the line has assembled and delivered nearly 400 aircraft, and will achieve output of six aircraft per month by 2020.
The European manufacturer also has Hafei Airbus Composites Manufacturing Center, which mainly produces composite parts for the A320 family and the A350.
Last week Airbus announced it would take its stake in industrial partner Avichina to 5%. Avichina owns 20% of the A320 final assembly line and 20% of the composites center.