Airbus opens A330 aircraft completion center in China

People look at the first Airbus A330 plane to be delivered from Airbus’ Chinese completion plant for A330 jets to Tianjin Airlines, during the inauguration ceremony of the plant, in Tianjin. (AFP)
Updated 20 September 2017
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Airbus opens A330 aircraft completion center in China

TIANJIN, China: Airbus on Wednesday inaugurated its first completion center for large aircraft in China, a new asset for the European manufacturer in heated competition with American rival Boeing.
China is one of the Western manufacturers’ key battlegrounds, with its travelers taking to the skies in ever-growing numbers.
In Tianjin, a port city 150 kilometers from Beijing, Airbus already has an assembly line for the single-aisle aircraft A319 and A320, the first of its kind outside Europe.
Now the same site hosts a completion center for long-haul A330 and its first aircraft was delivered to the local company Tianjin Airlines on Wednesday, accompanied by the playing of cymbals and banging of drums.
“This is the perfect illustration of mutual trust” and “our willingness to embark on a new stage in the Franco-Chinese relationship,” said French junior finance minister Benjamin Griveaux, the first member of President Emmanuel Macron’s government to visit China.
The €200-million facility will receive A330s assembled in France and will prepare the cabins and apply exterior painting. Two aircraft will be delivered every month.
The A330, operated by nine Chinese airlines, is the most popular wide-body aircraft in the country.
“The inauguration of our (center) in Tianjin, together with the first of many deliveries, marks a new milestone for Airbus’ international footprint,” Fabrice Bregier, Airbus chief operating office, said at one of the site’s giant halls alongside leaders of the aviation manufacturer Avic, the European firm’s Chinese partner.
The majority of Airbus orders in China remain its A320 single-aisle jetliner. But with about 200 A330s in the country’s skies, the aircraft manufacturer also controls 61 percent of the long-haul market.
According to the company, China will need about 6,000 airliners over the next two decades, and its demand for large carriers will be boosted by the explosion of Chinese passenger traffic abroad that is increasing at 14 percent per year, said Eric Chen, president of Airbus China.
Having doubled its market share in the space of a decade, Airbus is now on par with Boeing in China. But the American aircraft maker does not intend to be left behind. Next year it will open its own finishing center for the medium-haul B737 in China.
For its part, the Chinese state aircraft manufacturer Comac intends to jostle the Airbus-Boeing duopoly with its medium-haul C919, which took its maiden flight in May.


Toyota recalls 70,000 vehicles to replace air bag inflators

Updated 12 December 2018
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Toyota recalls 70,000 vehicles to replace air bag inflators

  • Takata uses the chemical ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion and inflate the bags
  • Can deteriorate and burn too fast, blowing apart a metal canister

DETROIT: Toyota is recalling about 70,000 Toyota and Lexus brand vehicles in North America to replace air bag inflators that could explode and hurl shrapnel at drivers and passengers.
The recall covers the 2003 to 2005 Corolla, the 2002 to 2005 Sequoia, the 2003 to 2005 Tundra and the 2002 to 2005 Lexus SC.
Takata uses the chemical ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion and inflate the bags. But it can deteriorate and burn too fast, blowing apart a metal canister.
The Toyota and Lexus vehicles were recalled previously and the inflators replaced with new ones that still used ammonium nitrate. In the latest recall, Toyota will use inflators made by another company with a safer chemical.
Owners will be notified early next year. Toyota says it has replacement parts available.
About 65,000 of the recalled vehicles are in the US
Toyota says it’s doing the recall a year ahead of a schedule set by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
At least 23 people have died worldwide due to the problem caused by inflators made by Takata Corp., resulting in the largest series of auto recalls in US history. They cover 37 million vehicles and about 50 million inflators in the US About 100 million inflators are being recalled worldwide.
The recalls forced Takata of Japan to seek bankruptcy protection.