DALLAS – In a victory for the European manufacturer in its competition with Boeing for supremacy in Asia’s largest economy, Airbus confirmed the signature of 292 A320 Family aircraft orders worth more than US$37bn to four Chinese airlines in one of its largest-ever single-day hauls. The deal demonstrates the positive recovery momentum and outlook for the Chinese aviation market.
According to separate business filings on Friday reported by Bloomberg, China Eastern Airlines (MU) will purchase 100 A320neo narrow-body aircraft, while Air China (CA) will purchase 64 aircraft along with another 32 for its Shenzhen Airlines (ZH) subsidiary. China Southern Airlines (CZ) previously announced that it would lease more aircraft in addition to purchasing 96 A320neos.
According to the aforementioned filing, the delivery of the CZ aircraft will take place between 2024 and 2027. 19 A320neos will be leased individually by the carrier. The handover to CA and ZH will take place in 2023, 2027, and 2024, 2026, respectively.
“Once the relevant criteria are met, these orders will enter the backlog,” said Airbus. The manufacturer added that “By the end of May 2022, the in-service Airbus fleet with Chinese operators totaled over 2,070 aircraft.”
The A320neo Family incorporates new generation engines and Sharklets, which together deliver at least 20% fuel and CO2 savings, as well as a 50 percent noise reduction. The A320neo Family offers unmatched comfort in all classes and Airbus’ 18-inch wide seats in economy as standard.
At the end of May 2022, the A320neo Family had totaled more than 8,000 orders from over 130 customers. Since its Entry into Service six years ago, Airbus has delivered over 2,200 A320neo Family aircraft contributing to 15 million tons of CO2 saving.
The Chinese Market
Boeing and Airbus have pushed to increase their presence in China, which is a crucial market for them both. Travel within the nation is still restricted due to COVID, but orders for jets are usually placed years in advance due to the manufacturers’ limited production capacity.
The announcement marks the first significant aircraft orders placed by China in roughly three years. China Southern has traditionally been Boeing’s largest customer. However, the airline axed more than 100 737 MAX aircraft from its short-term fleet plans in May 2022 due to delivery uncertainty.
Comments from Airbus
“These new orders demonstrate the strong confidence in Airbus from our customers. It is also a solid endorsement from our airline customers in China of the performance, quality, fuel efficiency, and sustainability of the world’s leading family of single-aisle aircraft,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International.
Scherer added, “We commend the excellent work by George Xu and the entire Airbus China team as well as our customers’ teams for having brought to conclusion these long and extensive discussions that have taken place throughout the difficult COVID pandemic.”
Featured image: Alberto Cucini/Airways