China, France deepen cooperation in aviation
Ning Hong

China is working closely with European companies in aviation. One of the flagship projects is the final assembly line of the Airbus A320 jet in Tianjin, which has been running for over 10 years.

It is the first final assembly line of A320 jets outside Europe. Run by a joint company, with Airbus as its biggest shareholder, the factory has delivered 450 A320s and 16 A330s by this October. Its monthly production will go up from four to six airplanes by the end of 2019.

Two years ago, Guillaume Sicre volunteered to come work in China, a country he had never been to. "Some colleagues came back to Europe and told me, this is an amazing country. Honestly, I was really surprised by its development," Sicre said.

There were as many as 100 employees from Europe here, helping to establish the production line, but now Chinese engineers manage most of the operations. 

Dong Lin joined the company in 2008 as a quality engineer. "As a newcomer, I learned from a French colleague who is an expert in quality. He taught me a lot about technical and process knowledge," said Dong, who was promoted to director of production assurance a year ago. He now leads a team of 17 people, their job is to make sure the final assembly line is operating under the same safety standards as three others across the world.

"I always learn from my team to know their ideas, to support them, to implement their ideas. I encourage my team members to identify areas needing improvement, then I will help them make those improvements," said Dong.

The final assembly line has also helped the enterprise's operations in Tianjin, including opening a factory set up by Xi'an Aircraft International (Tianjin) Corporation, which provides wings for the A320.

In the meantime, a national level aviation industrial base is forming in Tianjin, attracting over 60 major aviation companies from across the country.