Airbus lifts narrow-body jet output in China, mulls A380 pact


BEIJING • Airbus SE will accelerate production of the A320 workhorse model in China to six planes a month as the European planemaker seeks to meet global demand while pursuing more orders in Asia’s largest economy.

The narrow-body build rate at the Tianjin plant east of Beijing will increase from the current four planes a month, Airbus COO Fabrice Bregier told Bloomberg yesterday during a visit to China with a trade delegation led by French President Emmanuel Macron.

A French official also confirmed that discussions are underway about a possible Airbus partnership with China on the slow-selling A380 superjumbo.

The Toulouse-based company could hand over some interiors and finishing work on the double-decker if Beijing agrees to buy more of the double- decker jets, a person with knowledge of the discussions said on Monday.

It’s not clear whether Airbus will also emerge with significant orders from China following the Macron trip.

China Aircraft Leasing Group Hol-dings Ltd last month agreed to buy 50 A320 airliners with a combined list price of US$5.42 billion (RM21.74 billion), while during President Xi Jinping’s visit to Berlin in July Airbus secured commitments worth US$22 billion and said it was in talks about selling A380s.

Macron on Monday called for an overhaul to relations between China and the European Union, pushing for more balanced trade ties while embracing President Xi Jinping’s signature infrastructure push.

He repeated a call for “reciprocity” in trade ties between China and Europe.