Airbus seeks JV in India, China
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Airbus seeks JV in India, China

Airbus plans to form a JV in India to open an engineering and service centre and an assembly line in China.

india Updated: Feb 22, 2006 19:19 IST

Airbus plans to form a joint venture in India to open an engineering and service centre, and hopes to also launch a joint assembly line in China, the European airplane company said on Wednesday.

Airbus also said it was discussing developing new aircraft with Russia.

The centre in India will cater to the country's growing number of airlines, with its service unit to focus on information software, Airbus Chief Executive Gustav Humbert said on the margins of an Asian aviation show in Singapore.

The engineering division will involve subassembly manufacturing of components and employ aerospace engineers, similar to Airbus centres in the United States, China and the company's base in Toulouse, France, Humbert told reporters.

"We hope we can be ready at the end of this year with contracts," Humbert said.

India's aviation industry is growing rapidly, with 25 percent annual growth in both cargo and passenger traffic. Airbus, the world's biggest commercial aircraft maker in terms of orders, is also making progress with its efforts to start a joint venture assembly line in China.

Humbert said the Chinese assembly line would eventually produce four A320 aircraft a month-- though this won't be enough to meet China's demand for the aircraft.

Airbus is exploring four sites to locate the line and expects to start operations at the end of 2008.

Airbus orders from the Asia-Pacific accounted for more than 45 percent of its global orders in 2005, with more than 500 firm orders from 13 customers.

Separately, Humbert said Airbus was in talks with the Russian government to develop new aircraft. The potential businesses would generate around $25 billion (euro21 billion) in revenue for Russian companies over 20 years, he said.

"Permission has been given after a bidding contest between a competitor and us to be (in talks with) the restructured United Aircraft company," he said.

Earlier this month Russia established United Aircraft Building Corporation as a state-controlled holding company that consolidates aircraft makers and other aviation companies into one entity. Airbus has proposed Russian participation in the design and production of a new A350 plane and partnership in a program to turn narrow-bodied Airbus planes into cargo planes, news agency Interfax reported Wednesday, quoting a statement from the Airbus representative office in Moscow.

"Airbus considers Russia a prospective market and forecasts that, in the next 20 years, Russian airlines will need more than 600 planes with an overall cost of $46 billion," the statement said, according to Interfax.

The A350 is a long distance 250-300 seat airliner under development, intended to increase the range and decrease operating costs of twin-engined aircraft.

First Published: Feb 22, 2006 16:39 IST