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Business

Airbus secures huge orders from Chinese airlines

Two start-up Chinese carriers have ordered scores of passenger jets from European plane maker Airbus. The airlines opted for the A320 planes with a view to keeping down fuel consumption and reducing emissions.

On the sidelines of a Beijing aviation show, Airbus announced Wednesday it had secured major orders from two new Chinese carriers which were planning to start operations soon.

The European plane maker said Qingdao Airlines requested 23 planes, while Zhejiang Loong Airlines ordered 20.

Both airlines' orders included a large proportion of A320neos (pictured) which Airbus designed with fuel efficiency and emission reductions in mind.

BOC Aviation as the aircraft-leasing arm of the major state-owned Bank of China also ordered a total of 25 planes.

Booming sector

The purchases are still subject to approval from Chinese authorities.

"We welcome Qingdao Airlines as a new member of the big Airbus family," Chief Operating Officer for Customers, John Leahy, said in a statement.

"And the commitment from Zhejiang Loong Airlines is also another vote of confidence for our popular A320 family."

Airbus has a factory in China that assembles A320 series planes.

Boom in Asian air traffic

The announcement about the new orders came a day after Airbus predicted the Asia Pacific would overtake Europe and North America in air traffic by 2032.

It said overall growth in the sector would expand by 4.7 percent annually, with the world needing another 29,000 new commercial planes over the next two decades.

Passenger trips in China reached 320 million in 2012, up 9 percent from a year earlier.

hg/ipj (AFP, Reuters)