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China’s Big Three Airlines Place $37 Billion Order for 300 Airbus Jets

MSN10239 A319NEO CHINA SOUTHERN | (Photo: Airbus)

On Friday, Air China, China Southern, and China Eastern, placed a massive order for Airbus A320neo series jets. Total order mounted to 292 confirmed orders worth $37 billion, including 96 orders from Air China, 96 orders from China Southern, and 100 orders from China Eastern. The ordered jets will deliver from 2023 to 2027. The massive order is a significant sign of the market recovery of the Chinese aviation market. Boeing expressed its disappointment amid the announced orders.

After the market closed on July 1, China Southern released the statement first to announce its 96 orders of the Airbus A320neo. The jet will be used for China Southern and its subsidiaries. The order will add 13% more capacity to the current China Southern fleet.

Air China released its statement shortly after China Southern’s release. Air China Group will order 96 of the same type of aircraft from Airbus, among which, 64 will be assigned to Air China, and 32 will be assigned to Shenzhen Airlines and its subsidiaries. Shenzhen Airlines is a subsidiary of Air China based in the southern tech hub of China.

Lastly, China Eastern announced its order of 100 Airbus A320neo jets. The statement mentioned that the 100 Airbus A320s will enable the carrier to continue expanding its network during the recovery from the pandemic, and will also upgrade the carrier’s fleet with newer, more efficient aircrafs.

In the statements released by those carriers, the detailed mixes of Airbus A319/A320/A321 are not confirmed. Local aviation communities are looking forward to having the latest Airbus A321XLR joining the Chinese fleet.

As of the moment this article is published, the orders are yet to be approved by the boards of the three carriers and authorities. However, carriers releasing the statements at the same time sends a signal of high confidence to obtain the necessary approvals in time.

“These new orders demonstrate the strong confidence in Airbus from our customers. It is also a solid endorsement from our airline customers in China of the performance, quality, fuel efficiency, and sustainability of the world’s leading family of single-aisle aircraft,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International in the statement released by Airbus.

Boeing, on the other hand, expressed its disappointment in this announcement, and attribute its failure to compete with Airbus to geopolitical differences. The long-term opponent of Airbus said it’s going to “continue urging a productive dialogue between the U.S. and China governments.” Boeing’s 737MAX series jet, the competitor of Airbus A320neo, is still grounded in China, and Boeing has invested major efforts to have the jets fly again in China.

The Airbus A320neo is acclaimed by passengers and carriers around the globe. The successful jet has earned more than 8.000 orders so far, and its latest A321XLR recently made its first flight.

Recently, as the Covid-19 pandemic is phasing out, Chinese authorities have significantly loosened the restrictions on domestic travel. Restrictions for international travel are also reduced, and new flights are introduced between China and Europe, and the Middle East. The government has signaled that more international flights will resume in the coming months.

Only a short moments after the announcement of reducing pandemic control restrictions, the search for flights and trains increased by over 200%, according to a popular travel booking site. Traveling demand for the public is still high, and further reducing the restriction is expected to further release additional demands from travelers and tourists. The massive demands represent a positive outlook of the future of the Chinese aviation market by the capital.

Lei Yan


  • Lei Yan

    Lei is from Inner Mongolia, China, and now lives in Guangzhou. He grew up in an aviation family, where his passion began. During his time at Penn State University, he studied Industrial Engineering specializing in operations research, and he graduated with an honor’s thesis on airport gate assignment optimization. Now, he is a Purchasing Manager with Procter & Gamble. In his free time, he enjoys flying, reading, and wandering around the city.

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