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Airbus wins multi-billion Chinese order

July 5, 2017

During a visit by the Chinese president to its production sites in France, Airbus said it had won a major order from China for 140 planes totaling $22.8 billion. Even for big-ticket airplanes it is a massive booking.

Airbus Werk in Toulouse
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/C. Blumberg

European aircraft maker said on Wednesday it had sealed the agreement with China Aviation Supplies Holding Company (CAS), which chief executive Tom Enders called "one of the biggest contracts signed in a long time by Airbus."

The deal covers 100 A320 single-aisle jets and 40 A350 wide-body aircraft.

"This underscores the strong demand by Chinese airlines in all segments, from domestic and low-cost to the regional and international long-haul market," Airbus said in a statement.

The company said a market analysis forecast a doubling of demand worldwide for planes with more than 100 seats to 40,000 aircraft in the next 20 years, fueled largely by demand from developing markets such as China.

A long time in the making

"In the mid-1990s we had a market share (in China) of five to six percent," Enders said. "Twenty years later we have around 50 percent - we really put our foot on the gas."

The European aircraft maker said its A320 line of planes was the world's best-selling single-aisle aircraft with more than 13,000 orders and 7,600 planes already delivered.

In January 2016, BOC Aviation, owned by Bank of China, announced an order for 30 A320s worth over $3 billion to meet growing demand.

At last month's Paris Air Show, Airbus announced 326 orders worth nearly $40 billion. However, it was outpaced at the event, one of the biggest annual sales bazaars in the industry, by Boeing thanks to its new 737 MAX 10 airliner, taking in a total of 571 orders for nearly $75 billion.

Underscoring the economic ties between Berlin and Beijing, Chinese and European companies - including German carmaker Daimler and the nation's industrial giant Siemens - signed a total of eight contracts this week.

President Xi Jinping was in Berlin for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of the G20 summit starting Friday. His visit was part of a series of diplomatic meetings ahead of the meeting.

tr/jbh (AFP, dpa)