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Airbus’ China venture ships 1st major A350 component

Keywords: Tags  Airbus, A350 XWB, Harbin Hafei Composite Manufacturing Centre, HMC, Aernnova Aerospace, Boeing, Rafael Gonzalez-Ripoll, Frank Haflich

LOS ANGELES — Airbus SAS’ Chinese joint venture has delivered its first major package for the commercial aircraft builder’s newest plane as it transitions into becoming the sole supplier of the components.

Harbin Hafei Airbus Composite Manufacturing Centre Co. Ltd. (HMC) delivered elevators for the Airbus A350 XWB to Alava, Spain-based Aernnova Aerospace SA, which will ship the components to Airbus’ plant in Getafe, Spain, where they’ll be integrated into the twin-aisle aircraft’s horizontal tail plane.

HMC is a joint venture between Airbus China, Harbin Aircraft Industry Group. Corp. Ltd., Hafei Aviation Industry Co. Ltd., AviChina Industry & Technology Co. Ltd. and Harbin Development Zone Infrastructure Development Co. Ltd.

Toulouse, France-based Airbus, which has about 670 orders for the A350, expects the plane to enter service in the second half of 2014. The plane is considered the main rival for Chicago-based Boeing Co.’s 787 Dreamliner.

During the A350’s initial phase, Airbus supplier Aernnova was the sole producer of the carbon fiber elevators, a movable control surface in the horizontal tail. However, under a contract between HMC and Aernnova, production of the elevators will move to HMC, which will become the sole supplier of the component.

Airbus in 2007 agreed to allocate 5 percent of the A350 airframe to be manufactured in China. HMC’s output makes up a "significant part" of this 5 percent, Airbus said.

HMC, established in 2009, has already produced work packages for Airbus’ single-aisle aircraft, including elevators, rudders and spars.

Airbus China chief operating officer Rafael Gonzalez-Ripoll called delivery of the first A350 elevator shipset "an important milestone" in Airbus’ long-term partnership with the Chinese aviation industry.

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