Preliminary talks between Fabrice Bregier, Airbus’ Chief Operating Officer, and potential partners in China are reportedly planned during the ongoing visit of French President Emmanuel Macron in the country.
Airbus hopes to leverage its A330 finishing and delivery centre in Tianjin, opened last year, for the potential A380 cooperation.
A potential order from China, although not expected during the presidential visit, could provide a much-needed boost to the A380 programme as the manufacturer is reportedly evaluating whether to continue production of the quadjet or to gradually wind it down. Chinese carriers could provide an alternative to Emirates, by far the largest user of the type. The Emirati carrier has to date ordered 142 A380s, but talks regarding a new deal have broken down during last year’s Dubai Air Show. Airbus has not sold a single aircraft of the type since early 2016, despite launching an upgraded A380plus version last year.
Currently, the sole Chinese operator of the A380 is China Southern Airlines, which purchased five aircraft of the type.
Separately, the European manufacturer is also mulling increasing the production rate at its Tianjin assembly facility to five A320 Family aircraft a month. Airbus also hopes to sign a contract for as many as 100 narrow-body jets with CALC this week.