Two Chinese airlines order 43 A320 jets: Airbus

  • AFP, Beijing
  • |
  • Updated: Sep 25, 2013 14:37 IST

Two start-up Chinese airlines have ordered 43 A320 jets, Airbus said Wednesday on the sidelines of a Beijing air show, as air travel takes off in the world's most populous country.

Qingdao Airlines requested 23 planes and Zhejiang Loong Airlines sought 20, the European planemaker said in a statement.

Air travel is rising steadily in Asia and other emerging markets, with passenger trips in China reaching 320 million in 2012, up nine percent from the year before.

"We welcome Qingdao Airlines as a new member of the big Airbus family," chief operating officer for customers John Leahy said in the statement.

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

Qingdao Airlines' order includes 18 A320neos, which are designed to reduce emissions and fuel consumption, while Zhejiang Loong Airlines' includes nine A320neos.

Both carriers are new companies. Qingdao Airlines will start operations next year and take delivery of the first A320s in 2016, the statement said. Zhejiang Loong will begin business this year.

The airline Air China ordered 100 A320s in May, which would be worth $8.8 billion at list prices, and be handed over from 2014 to 2020.

BOC Aviation -- the aircraft-leasing arm of the major state-owned Bank of China -- ordered 50 A320s in January, half of them from the "neo" series. Delivery is due to start next year and continue through 2019.

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

The company predicted in its annual industry forecast on Tuesday that the Asia-Pacific would overtake Europe and North America in air traffic by 2032.

With overall growth rising 4.7 percent a year, the world would need another 29,000 new commercial aircraft over the next two decades, it said.

By then two-thirds of people in emerging markets would take a flight each year, compared to one in five now, Airbus's chief operating officer John Leahy said.


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