Chinese airlines order nearly 300 Airbus aircraft

An Airbus A320neo of Air China. Photo: © Chen Xiao / Airbus China

On Friday, July 1st, all three major Chinese airlines have signed orders with Airbus for nearly 300 Airbus A320neo family aircraft.

Bejing-based Air China has ordered 96 A320neo family for itself and its subsidiary Shenzhen Airlines, which will receive 32 of the aircraft. Its Shanghai-headquartered counterpart China Eastern Airlines signed a firm order for 100 A320neo family aircraft. The third part of the deal comes from China Southern Airlines, which has signed a firm order for 96 A320neo family aircraft and lease agreements for a further 19 of the type.

All of these new airplanes will be delivered between 2024 and 2027, with many of them likely being manufactured at the Final Assembly Line Airbus operates in the Chinese city of Tianjin. The order announcement is one of the biggest commitments won by Airbus. Around 2000 Airbus aircraft are currently in service with Chinese airlines.

Meanwhile, the Boeing 737 Max family, the main rival to Airbus’ A320neo, has still not received re-certification in China. The type was grounded around the world following two deadly crashes and has since been cleared to fly again in most countries, after American manufacturer Boeing made modifications to address previous issues. The company has not delivered short- and medium-range aircraft to Chinese airlines since early 2019.

China hopes to introduce its own commercial passenger jet with capabilities similar to the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 Max, the Comac C919, in the coming years.