May 21, 2009 - European-owned Airbus is stepping up plane production in China amid outsourcing concerns and a troubled economy back at home. Airbus executives are patting themselves on the back after receiving word the first A320 jet assembled in China made a successful maiden flight. Meanwhile, thousands of European aerospace jobs surrounding the very same model hang in the balance due to scaled back production.
Airbus plans to increase Chinese production of the A320 jet to four a month by the end of 2011. The aircraft company began assembling A320 jets in China last September. The company cut domestic production of the model from 36 planes a month to 34 back in October.
European unions say the move only exacerbates fears that more work could be outsourced at a time when European working families need the jobs the most. They also fear the loss of European technology to Chinese counterparts.
Adding insult to injury, Airbus also says it has more than 700 orders – most from the A320 aircraft family – from Chinese airlines, and that it anticipates China will need more than 3,000 large aircraft by 2025, including 180 super jumbo passenger planes.