The three largest airlines in China have made orders for around 300 brand new Airbus planes, giving the European company a significant foothold in the Chinese market.
China Southern, China Eastern, and Air China announced orders for 292 Airbus A320 Family planes within a few hours.
China Eastern signed for 100 A320neos for $13 billion, while Air China made orders for 64 A320neos and 32 for subsidiary Shenzhen Airlines, for a total order value of over $19 billion.
According to Airbus’s own statement, the orders show “the positive recovery momentum and prosperous future for the Chinese aviation business.”
Christian Scherer, chief commercial officer and head of international for Airbus, said, “These new orders demonstrate the great trust in Airbus from our customers.” “We appreciate the exceptional effort by George Xu and the whole Airbus China team as well as our customers’ teams for having concluded these long and detailed conversations throughout the challenging COVID pandemic,” Airbus said.
These orders are a tremendous boost for Airbus as they come at the expense of Boeing, whose 737 MAX is still grounded in China, awaiting approval to resume service. After the deadly disasters of Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines in March 2019, China’s regulator suspended Boeing’s newest narrow-body aeroplane.
China Southern reportedly cancelled the supply of more than 100 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft,
Regarding Boeing 737 MAX planes, China Southern Airlines has cancelled the delivery of more than a hundred planes in the coming years.
As of May 2022, Airbus said that over 130 clients had placed orders for more than 8,000 planes of the A320neo family. Since its introduction to service six years ago, the A320neo family of aircraft has seen more than 2,200 units delivered by the manufacturer.
These mandates come as Asia continues its sluggish recovery from the COVID-19 outbreak. Traffic recovery in the area is trailing behind the rest of the globe because of stricter travel restrictions, especially in China. According to IATA data, domestic Chinese air travel in April 2022 was down 80% from the same month in 2021.
China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, and Air China, the three largest airlines in China, all reported a slight rise in passenger traffic in May 2022.
According to China Southern, the new planes would allow them to serve 13% more passengers. The new jets will be used to both increase capacity and replace ageing aircraft for China Eastern. Air China estimates that adding the new planes will increase its capacity by around 10 percent while also decreasing operational expenses.
Air China’s new Airbus aircraft won’t arrive until 2023–2027, while China Southern and China Eastern’s A320neos won’t get there until 2024–2027, and Shenzhen’s will come in 2024–2026.