Undelivered planes are piling up at the factories of Airbus in France and Germany. The company intended to sell nearly 200 more Airbus jets to China this week. But Chinese airlines have yet to take delivery of many airliners they’ve ordered from the company even though the planes are built.
That’s because China’s aviation regulator has yet to allow deliveries of key Airbus models. It’s not clear as to what has slowed Airbus’ approvals in China. It seems that the delays have more to do with politics than technology. Airbus Chief Operating Officer Fabrice Brégier met during a visit to Beijing in late October with CAAC director Feng Zhenglin to discuss Airbus’s business operations in China, including aircraft airworthiness certification.
China’s aviation regulator is considered one of the most methodical and rigorous on the planet. But in the Chinese aerospace industry, much of what happens is linked to the country’s long-term ambitions to compete against Boeing and Airbus. “The Chinese are pretty good in building pressure on certain desires they have,” said one senior Airbus official. “The Chinese are playing it slow on granting certification any aircraft program, be it Boeing or Airbus.”