The French planemaker announced today that it had signed a deal to sell 300 aircraft to Chinese airlines.
The deal comprises 290 of the Airbus A320 narrow-body aircraft, and 10 of the long-range A350 XWB aircraft. The deal is believed to be worth around $34bn.
It was signed in Paris by the president of Airbus and the chairman of the Chinese aviation body during a visit by the Chinese premier, Xi Jinping.
The deal reflects “the strong demand” in the Chinese aviation market in all market segments including domestic, low cost, regional and international long-haul travel, said Airbus.
“We are honoured to support the growth of China’s civil aviation with our leading aircraft families – single-aisle and widebodies,” said Guillaume Faury, president of Airbus Commercial Aircraft and future Airbus CEO.
“Our expanding footprint in China demonstrates our lasting confidence in the Chinese market and our long-term commitment to China and our partners.”
China is a growing aviation market where the opportunity for planemakers such as Airbus and Boeing is huge. According to Airbus’ latest China Market Forecast 2018 to 2037, China will need around 7,400 new passenger aircraft over the next 20 years.
Chinese airlines currently operate 1,730 Airbus aircraft, of which 1,455 are A320s.
The deal is a further blow to Boeing, which has grounded all 371 Boeing 737 Max aircraft following the fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash earlier this month. China was one of the first countries to ground the Boeing 737 Max aircraft in the wake of the 10 March crash.
Airbus’ A320 family competes directly with the Boeing 737 series. The Airbus A320neo, a high-spec upgrade to the highly popular A320 jet, competes with the Boeing 737 Max, which is the latest iteration of the 737.