Chinese Primier Wen Jiabao was in Toulouse the other day, being shown the A380 by the bigwigs from Airbus. He also signed an agreement to consider the A320 factory. As of now, Airbuses are built in Europe: the A320, A330 and A340 in Toulouse, and the A319 and A321 in Hamburg, Germany. And Airbus has told China that it will allow it to build approximately 5% of the fuselage for the new A350.
Here's what MD-11 said:
I personally do not think that this is going to happen, because of how much the French and German governments own of Airbus.I, however, believe that the Europeans would be glad to ink this deal with the Chinese. France, for one, has been pushing for the repeal of EU embargoes placed on China for civil rights violations. Germany has agreed with this too. And everybody knows that in ten or twenty years from now, China will be where the money is - if not a lot sooner.
Boeing knows this too, and it's been racking up impressive orders from the Chinese for 737s. Cathay Pacific also ordered the 777 recently as well. If Airbus wants to keep up with Boeing, they're going to have to cozy up to the Chinese. And a good way to do this is to cut a deal like this with them. If Airbus - and the French and German governments - get their foot in the door in China before Boeing - and the United States - do, the implications could be severe for the Americans.
Bottom line: I believe Airbus will get the green light to do this. It's nothing really big, too - just 5% of the fuselage of the A350 - so workers in Europe shouldn't get too mad. But there's just one problem with the A320 factory: they might not be able to sell the Chinese-built A320s to the United States. I don't know what the policy is on this, and if anybody does know, I'd appreciate it if they'd tell me. But I'm sure that the Bush Administration wouldn't be too keen on seeing United or jetBlue take delivery of Chinese-made aircraft, especially when Bush is trying to turn around the US' whopping trade deficit with China.