Spotlight: China-Europe cooperation on aviation shifts into higher gear

Source: Xinhua| 2018-07-18 00:25:01|Editor: ZX
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by Xinhua writers Jin Jing, Zhang Jiawei, Wen Xiqiang

LONDON, July 17 (Xinhua) -- The fast-growing market demand of civil aircraft and rapid development of aviation industry offer unprecedented opportunities for cooperation between China and Europe which has seen remarkable progress in recent years.

At the ongoing renowned Farnborough International Airshow in southwest of London, Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) has announced the establishment of AVIC Cabin Systems Co., Ltd. (ACS).

The operational headquarters of ACS, with its products covering most segments of cabin interiors industry with high-profile customers such as Boeing and Airbus, is based in London.

"The fact that the company's operational headquarters is based in London demonstrated AVIC's confidence about the business environment in the UK and Europe, and it is another important step of AVIC's globalization," said Chairman of AVIC Tan Ruisong at the launching ceremony.

Statistics shows that the global market of cabin interiors in 2017 was valued at 12.6 billion dollars and is anticipated to grow to 14.4 billion dollars in 2020 and 18.4 billion dollars in 2025 with an annual rate of nearly 5 percent.

Gary Montgomery, CEO of Thompson Aero Seating, a major ACS supplier of first-class and business class seats based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, said the establishment of ACS will help create synergy across the cabin companies and provide better products and services to global customers, noting that he is optimistic about the prospects of ACS.

Liu Xiaoming, Chinese Ambassador to the UK, who also attended the ceremony, said it is exciting to witness "China-UK cooperation on aviation moving up to a new level."

The event has a significant impact on the aviation sector in both China and the UK, and the world aviation development, he said.

As early as 1997, the Aviation Working Group was set up under the China-UK Joint Economic and Trade Commission in a move to enhance cooperation on aviation technology and engineering.

In 2017, a major outcome was reached at the 9th China-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue to expand air traffic right. According to this arrangement, the number of direct flights between the two countries was to increase by 50 percent to 150 per week. Recently, Chinese airlines opened five new direct flights between China and Britain.

"It is amid such an exciting development that AVIC Cabin Systems is born. This meets the need of upgrading China-UK 'air corridor'. It is a vivid example of the thriving cooperation between our two countries on aviation," said the Chinese ambassador.

The Chinese aviation industry, though a late starter, has grown rapidly to become an important pillar of China's economic restructuring. China is considered the world's most promising aviation market. By 2020, China will have over 500 general aviation airports and more than 5,000 general aviation aircraft.

Last month, China issued Special Management Measures (Negative List) for the Access of Foreign Investment (2018) to further increase access to the manufacturing sector. Foreign-ownership limits for manufacturers of certain aircraft, including trunk route aircraft, regional aircraft, general-use aircraft, helicopter, drone and aerostat, are removed.

"These measures will help accelerate the integration of China's aviation industry in the global supply chain. They will also create growth opportunities for global partners, including those in the UK," said the ambassador.

The week-long Farnborough International Airshow kicked off on Monday with exhibitors from nearly 100 countries. The presence of more than 20 Chinese aviation companies is the largest in the show's history, with 70 percent growth in participation since the 2016 show.

Xu Gang, CEO of Airbus China, said the long-standing cooperation between Airbus and China is an exemplar of China-Europe cooperation in the high-tech field.

Airbus has committed to raising A320 production capacity at its final assembly line (FAL) in Tianjin in north China, from four to six per month by 2020. It has delivered more than 370 aircraft since the FAL started operation in 2008 as the first Airbus single aisle Final Assembly Line outside Europe.

The rise of production also requires strengthened capacity from the Chinese partners, said Xu. The Airbus A320 FAL in Tianjin is a joint venture involving Airbus, Aviation Industry Corporation of China and Tianjin Free Trade zone.

Meanwhile, Airbus has announced that its second global innovation center will be established in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong province, with the aim to accelerate innovation and shape the future of flight.

"China enjoys huge capability and potential in the aviation industry, and I have full confidence in the future of Chinese aviation market," Xu said.