China buys 300 Airbus but is it a good thing?

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Airbus and China Aviation Supplies Holding Company (CAS) signed an agreement to supply 300 aircraft.

CAS is basically a Chinese Government controlled agency that will in effect re-allocate delivered aircraft to the desired airline. 290 of them are A320 series along with 10 A350’s.

There is much of the deal that for some rings alarm bells. And it’s not the aircraft purchase, it’s the determination of the Chinese to have more and more Airbus technology handed over to boost its own aviation sector.

All 290 of the A320’s will be built in China at the existing Tianjin plant, and Airbus is now looking at building the A330neo there to, as long as orders will be forthcoming. It had in the past offered to build the A380 there if airlines would make orders, but that was rejected as nobody wanted the huge aircraft.

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China is renowned for its global cyber-spying and secret-stealing campaigns, but companies willing to build and demonstrate how things are done, provide the skills to a work force to allow domestic assembly, are much sought after. Being a communist dictatorship, the country is able to tailor its demands to fit its needs in a way a free capitalist society cannot.

The argument is that by handing such skills and technologies to China for nothing more than a few orders, is not a way to ensure the longevity of Airbus, its European manufacturing, its technology or its long-term future. Eventually China will steal and copy its way to produce an equal product, then force its airlines to buy them; to the detriment of western companies like Airbus and Boeing.

 

 

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