China Aviation Supplies Holding Company (CAS) has signed a General Terms Agreement (GTA) with Airbus for the acquisition of 30 A330 Family aircraft and 100 A320 Family aircraft. The 30 A330s are the firm up of the commitment signed in June 2015. The GTA was signed in Beijing by Li Hai, President and CEO of CAS, and Fabrice Brégier, President and CEO of Airbus, in the presence of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“We are grateful to CAS, one of our longest standing customers, for its continued confidence in Airbus and in the versatile A330 Family as well as the best-selling A320 Family,” said Fabrice Bregier, President and CEO of Airbus. “With these 30 A330 options now firmed up, CAS’ total number of orders for the popular Airbus widebody is this year 75 aircraft. This strong demand in China for the A330 has been the key driver behind our decision to set up an A330 Completion and Delivery Centre in Tianjin, China next to the A320 Family final assembly line and delivery centre in Tianjin, which has assembled and delivered more than 240 Airbus single aisle aircraft. This will enable us to be even closer to our customers and to take our long-standing mutual beneficial partnership with China to a new height.”
The first agreements on setting up an A330 C&DC in Tianjin, China were signed by Airbus and Chinese partners in March 2014 and witnessed by French President Francois Hollande and visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping. This was followed in October 2014, when Airbus, the Tianjin Free Trade Zone (TJFTZ) and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) in Berlin, Germany, in the presence of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, A framework agreement was signed in July 2015 in Toulouse.
According to the Airbus global market forecast, China is leading the world in passenger growth. China’s domestic air traffic will become the world’s largest within the next 10 years, and traffic volumes will quadruple in the next 20 years. In the next 20 years, Airbus forecasts a demand in China for some 5,400 new passenger and freighter aircraft including 1,700 widebody aircraft like the A330, A350 and A380.
At present, the in-service Airbus fleet with Chinese operators comprises over 1,200 aircraft (over 1,000 A320 Family aircraft, over 160 A330 Family aircraft and five A380s as well as Airbus freighters and corporate jets).
The A330 is one of the most popular widebody aircraft ever and has to date won over 1,500 orders, with over 1,200 flying with more than 100 operators worldwide. Airbus is investing hundreds of millions of Euros per year in the A330 Family to maintain the aircraft at the leading edge of innovations. The A330 Family is part of the world’s most modern and comprehensive widebody product line, which also includes the larger A350 XWB and double deck A380
The A330 family seats between 250 and 440 passengers and is one of the most efficient aircraft in the world, with the lowest operating costs in its category. Thanks to the continuous introduction of a large number of innovations, the A330 remains the most profitable and best performing aircraft in its class, boasting an average operational reliability of 99.4 percent. Worldwide an A330 Family aircraft takes off or lands every 20 seconds.
The A320 Family, seat from 100 to 240 passengers, seamlessly covering the entire single-aisle segment from low to high-density configurations on domestic to longer-range routes. To date, Airbus has sold more than 12,200 A320 Family aircraft and delivered over 6,700 CEO to more than 300 operators worldwide.
Airbus is the world’s leading aircraft manufacturer of passenger airliners, ranging in capacity from 100 to more than 500 seats. Airbus has design and manufacturing facilities in France, Germany, the UK, and Spain, and subsidiaries in the US, China, India, Japan and in the Middle East. In addition, it provides the highest standard of customer support and training through an expanding international network.
China signed a deal to buy 130 planes from Airbus Group SE worth $17 billion, firming up purchase options announced earlier this year and intensifying the race to dominate what’s projected to become the world’s biggest aircraft market.
The agreement for 30 twin-aisle A330 and 100 single-aisle A320 planes was signed Thursday during a Beijing meeting between Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Airbus said in a statement. The purchase was among a number of deals signed at the meeting.
Airbus and Boeing Co. are competing to carve up the Chinese aircraft market, expected to become the world’s largest over the next two decades. China’s economic growth and the emergence of budget airlines are making air travel affordable to more people, prompting carriers such as Air China Ltd. and China Southern Airlines Co. to expand their fleets.
“Chinese demand for travel is growing and China will need more planes to meet that demand,” said Shukor Yusof, founder of Endau Analytics consultancy in Singapore.
The 30 A330s firm up options taken in June, when China announced an order for 45 of the wide-body aircraft plus options for 30 more. The follow-on order will help Airbus bridge the gap as it moves from the existing A330 model to a variant with more fuel-efficient engines that will enter service in 2017.
Airbus announced plans last December to cut monthly production to six A330s a month by 2016, from 10 now, as it transitions to the newer model. An order for 30 more planes means five months of work for the A330 line.
China has encouraged foreign planemakers to expand their local footprints as its own fledging aerospace industry takes shape. Airbus assembles A320s, most of which go to the Chinese market, at a factory in Tianjin. The European planemaker said in July it was finalizing an agreement with Chinese authorities to build a completion center for A330s.
Boeing won an order last month for 300 jets from Chinese carriers and lessors. The company said at the time it would soon open its first Chinese plant for 737 single-aisle planes.
Chinese airlines will need 6,330 new planes in the next 20 years, worth some $950 billion, according to a Boeing forecast.
China’s growing demand also is attracting interest from Russia, which plans to work with China on a wide-body plane that would compete with Boeing and Airbus jets. Russia’s United Aircraft Corp. and Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China, known as Comac, are discussing a work plan building on a memorandum of understanding signed in May 2014, Russian Deputy Industry Minister Andrey Boginsky said earlier this year.
China will become the world’s biggest air travel market by 2034, with one in five passengers traveling to, from or within the country, the International Air Transport Association said in April. About 70,000 flights — some 10 percent of the world’s total — operate to, from, or within mainland China every week, or according to IATA.
By 2020, 13 Chinese airlines will have more than 100 planes in their fleets, up from six carriers as of November 2014, the CAPA Centre for Aviation said last year. China Southern is Asia’s biggest carrier by fleet size with over 400 planes, which moved more than 100 million passengers last year.