China Aviation Supplies Holding Company has signed a firm contract with Airbus for a total of 102 commercial jets, of which 66 are newly...

China Aviation Supplies Holding Company (CAS) has signed a firm contract with Airbus for a total of 102 commercial jets, of which 66 are newly ordered aircraft.Preview

The new orders comprise 50 A320-family aircraft, six A330s and 10 A350 XWBs. No breakdown has yet been given of the exact mix and numbers of individual aircraft models that China is ordering from the three aircraft families.


The agreement was signed on November 4 by CAS President Li Hai and Tom Enders, president and CEO of Airbus, at the Elysée Palace in Paris in the presence of visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, UK Minister for Industry Mark Prisk and Louis Gallois, CEO of Airbus’ parent company EADS.

The A350 XWB is Airbus' competitive response to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner but its three models are not an exact size match, the A350 XWB being a somewhat larger aircraft than the Dreamliner. The A350-1000, the largest A350 XWB model offered by Airbus, is actually nearly comparable in size and capacity to the Boeing 777-300ER, while the A350-900 will be a competitor to the Boeing 777-200ER and 777-200LR

Airbus entered the Chinese market in 1985, when an A310 was first delivered to today’s China Eastern Airlines. By the end of October 2010, Airbus had 637 aircraft in service in China, representing 43 per cent of the country’s total fleet of commercial aircraft. By the end of October China had ordered 38 aircraft in total directly from Airbus.

The A320 family (A318, A319, A320 and A321) has sold more than 6,700 aircraft and more than 4,400 aircraft have been delivered to some 316 customers and operators worldwide. By the end of October, there were more than 530 A320-family aircraft in service in China and 219 on backlog.

To date, Airbus has won orders for more than 1,100 of the various versions of the A330 and more than 700 A330s are in service with 116 customers and operators worldwide. By the end of October, there were some 70 A330s in service in China and more than 40 on order backlog.

The A350 XWB family (containing the A350-800, A350-900 and A350-1000 models) is an all-new product line seating between 270 and 350 passengers in typical three-class layouts. Scheduled for entry into service in 2013, the family had won firm orders from 35 customers worldwide for 573 A350 XWBs by the end of October. The A350 XWB has sold at a even more rapid rate than the Boeing 787 to date, though some 300 more 787s have been ordered in total because the aircraft has been available for purchase for several more years than has the A350 XWB.