Airbus has received its first shipment of carbon fibre elevators for the A350 from the Harbin Hafei Airbus Composite Manufacturing Centre (HMC), a joint venture between Airbus and Chinese partners.
Under an agreement signed in 2007 between Airbus and the Chinese government, Airbus agreed to allocate five per cent of the A350 airframe to be manufactured in China. The work packages to be carried out by HMC are a significant part of that five per cent.
Currently, the elevators manufactured at HMC are delivered to Spain-based Aernnova Aerospace (ANN), which in turn delivers them to the Airbus plant in Getafe, Spain, where the components are integrated into the A350 horizontal tail plane. While ANN is a major supplier of aerostructures to Airbus, the agreement with China will see HMC become the sole supplier for the composite elevators.
Rafael González-Ripoll, Airbus China chief operating officer, said: “The delivery of the first ship set of A350 elevators by HMC is an important milestone in our long-term partnership with the Chinese aviation industry. The A350 has taken to the sky and the programme is progressing on track. The Chinese have every reason to be proud of the contribution they are making to the A350.”
Geng Ruguang, Executive Vice President of AVIC, the parent company of the majority shareholding Chinese partners of the HMC, said: “It’s inspiring for the Chinese aviation industry to be involved in the development and production of the A350, which is the world’s most advanced and most efficient aircraft, and to become an integrated part of Airbus’s global supply chain. The delivery of the first A350 elevator demonstrates one more step forward of HMC towards its set target. The development of HMC will also constitute a pulling force for the relevant local industries.”
HMC, set up in 2009, is already producing A320 family work packages including elevators, rudders and spars. The A350 package will see elevators, rudders, Section 19 maintenance doors and belly fairing parts delivered to Airbus.