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Tianjin airport to build new runway

Binhai international airport in Tianjin is to build a new runway for test flights of the Airbus A320.

The second runway will be 3,200 meters long and 45 meters wide. The cost has not disclosed. The project will be ready for service on May 1 next year, according to the airport authorities.

An assembly line for European aircraft maker Airbus A320 planes began construction in May 2007 in Tianjin.

Construction of a third runway will also begin at an opportune time to meet three needs: to test fly A320 planes, to meet expected growth in air travel, and to act as a reserve airport to the Capital International Airport in Beijing.

The assembly plant is a joint venture between Airbus and Tianjin Zhongtian Aviation Industry Investment Co., a Chinese alliance of China Aviation Industry Corp I, China Aviation Industry Corp II and Tianjin Bonded Zone Investment Co.

Airbus holds a majority 51 percent stake in the Tianjin assembly facility, with the rest held by Tianjin Zhongtian Aviation Industry Investment Co.

The assembly line project, with an estimated investment of 8 billion to 10 billion yuan (1.04 to 1.3 billion U.S. dollars), includes assembly workshops, power stations, hangars and outdoor facilities.

Based in the Tianjin Binhai New Area, the first for Airbus outside Europe, the plant is expected to start operating this month and have an annual capacity of assembling 44 aircraft by 2011, sources with the project said.

The first plane will roll off the production line next May. (source:Xinhua)