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[TIANJIN, China] Airbus on Wednesday opened its Chinese completion plant for A330 jets, with hopes that an increased presence in the world's fastest growing aviation market would help boost demand for the firm's profitable but ageing wide-body jets.
Europe's largest aerospace firm marked the opening of centre in the northern Chinese port city of Tianjin with the delivery of the first A330 jet from the plant to Tianjin Airlines.
The centre is a joint venture between the Aviation Industry Corporation of China and Tianjin Free Trade Zone Investment Company and was first agreed during a visit by President Xi Jinping to France in 2014.
Airbus already has a final assembly line for single-aisle A320 jets in Tianjin, which began operations in 2008.
At the centre just opened, Airbus will perform tasks such as aircraft painting, cabin installations as well as flight tests on aircraft received from Airbus' final assembly line in Toulouse, France.
Airbus' main US rival Boeing, is also ramping up its footprint in the country as it vies for orders. It has said it will build a 737 completion plant in eastern China with planemaker Commercial Aircraft Corp of China.