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Airbus and state-owned China Aviation Supplies Holding Company (CASC) announced on March 25, 2019, the signing of an order for 290 Airbus of the A320 Family and 10 A350s. It is the second biggest order in the history of the manufacturer after Indigo Partners in November 2017 (430 A320neo).
The contract was signed during a visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping in France. The new aircraft, mainly A320 and A321neo, some A319 and the ten A350 XWBs, should be distributed among several Chinese carriers. The final order exceeds by far the initial number of 184 Airbus A320s announced about a year ago, when French President Emmanuel Macron visited China.
“These aircraft will be built either in Europe or in China, in the assembly line of Tianjin,” announced Guillaume Faury, future CEO of Airbus, after the order was signed. The assembly line in Tianjin should reach an output of six planes assembled per month by 2019. As sources close to the matter told to Le Point that the deliveries should be executed fast, most aircraft are expected to be assembled in Europe.
Chinese airlines already operate around 1,730 Airbus aircraft, including 17 A350 XWBs and 1,455 of A320 Family. According to the European manufacturer, China will need 7,400 new commercial and cargo aircraft over the next 20 years, which makes up for more than 19% of the global demand.
This order comes a week after Bloomberg revealed that China might consider excluding the Boeing 737 MAX from a trade deal with the United States. The aircraft were key for China to reduce its $300-billion trade surplus with the U.S.