Airbus has clinched a deal to sell 150 single-isle A320 jets to China for $9.6 billion. The Toulouse-based airplane maker has also decided to build an assembly plant for the aircraft in the Chinese city of Tianjin.
The sale was agreed Thursday during a visit to Beijing by French President Jacques Chirac. The deal, one of Airbus’ biggest, gives a much-needed boost to Airbus scarred by delays to the delivery of its A380 superjumbo.
Airbus signed agreement with CASGC for largest single transaction ever - 170 aircraft
China Aviation Supplies Import and Export Group Corporation (CASGC) signed a General Terms Agreement (GTA) for the purchase of 150 A320 Family aircraft and a Letter of Intent (LOI) for 20 A350XWB aircraft with Airbus in Beijing.
CASGC President Li Hai and Airbus President and Chief Executive Officer, and EADS co-CEO, Louis Gallois signed the agreements at the Great Hall of People in the presence of the Chinese President Hu Jintao and the visiting French President Jacques Chirac.
The General Terms Agreement for the firm purchase of 150 A320 Family aircraft together with the Letter of Intent for 20 A350XWBs represents the largest single transaction ever performed by Airbus in China.
“These commitments are new milestone achievements in the history of the close cooperation between our two companies. We are pleased to develop our cooperation with more A320 Family aircraft and we are happy to introduce the Airbus A350XWB Family aircraft, which represents the 21st Century solution for an aircraft in this size category, into China. We believe that more Chinese airlines will select this new generation aircraft for daily operation in the future, ” said Li Hai at the ceremony.
“We are impressed by the fast and sustained growth of the Chinese civil aviation industry and are extremely proud to be able to contribute to its development with our products. The fact that more and more Chinese airlines are turning to Airbus aircraft for their daily operations is a clear demonstration that we have the right products to be part of it. We look forward to further expanding our cooperation with CASGC and the Chinese airlines, ” said Louis Gallois.
The A350XWB is Airbus’ response to market demand for a medium capacity long range wide-body family available from 2012, it will have an entirely new, uncompromised, 21st Century design with a new and wider fuselage for extra space and passenger comfort. It will also be extra efficient, extra environmentally friendly and quiet. Conceived from the outset to form a complete family of airliners, three basic passenger versions are being offered. They include the -800, -900 and the -1000 accommodating between 250 and 375 passengers in a range of different configurations to suite airline needs. An ultra long-range version, the -900R, and a freighter -900F complete the family.
With almost 50 million flight hours to date, more than 4,400 aircraft ordered and 2,800 delivered to some 180 operators, the A318, A319, A320 and A321 make up the worlds best-selling single aisle family.
Airbus entered China in 1985 with its first delivery of an A310 to China Eastern Airlines. Today, the number of in-service Airbus aircraft on the Chinese Mainland has grown to more than 300 from just 29 in 1995. The number of Airbus operators has increased to ten.
Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus is an EADS company.