Airbus A380
Airbus A380 - 
Listen To The Story


Doug Krizner: Airbus is put the finishing touches on a deal to open an assembly plant in China making the A320 jet for the Chinese market. Stephen Beard reports.

Stephen Beard: The plant will assemble components shipped to China from Europe.

The first A320s are likely to roll off the production line within two years. The factory should be able to turn out four aircraft a month by the year 2011.

Howard Wheeldon, aerospace analyst with brokers BGC says the deal is something of a coup for Airbus.

Howard Wheeldon: It's based on the expectation that China will need around 2,500 aircraft over the next 20 years. Airbus needs to be there so I think it's a very, very good and very sensible move on the part of Airbus.

He expects that Boeing will sign a similar deal within the next few years.

The main worry for Airbus and Boeing is whether this will transfer technology to the embryonic Chinese aircraft industry, creating a major new competitor.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.