China Aviation Supplies Holding Company (CAS) has signed a general terms agreement (GTA) with Airbus for 45 A330-family aircraft and a memorandum of understanding (MOU) covering options for 30 more.
The GTA and MoU were signed on June 30 in Paris by Fabrice Brégier, Airbus president and CEO, and Li Hai, president and CEO of CAS, in the presence of visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and French Prime Minister Manuel Valls.
“The package order is a new vote of confidence in our A330 Family aircraft, which is already the most popular widebody aircraft in China,” said Brégier. “China is today the most important market for aviation in the world [and] we can be confident that air transport in China will continue to undergo rapid growth.”
According to online aviation news publication AviTrader, Brégier said the new CAS agreement would mean Airbus building a second production facility in China to add to its existing A320-family final assmbly line in Tianjin. The second facility will be an A330 cabin completion center.
Airbus’ latest market forecast predicts that China will become the world’s leading country for both domestic and international passenger air traffic, with passenger traffic in China continuing to grow at a rate well above the world average.
The domestic air traffic market in China will become the world’s largest within 10 years, according to Airbus. In the 20-year period between 2014 and 2033, Airbus forecasts a demand in China for more than 5,300 new commercial passenger aircraft with more than 100 seats, plus freighters.
At present, Chinese carriers operate more than Airbus 1,150 aircraft, including more than 980 A320-family aircraft, more than 150 A330-family widebodies and five A380s.
China Aviation Supplies Holding Company (CAS) was established in October 2002, as China Aviation Supplies Import & Export Group Corporation (CASGC). It kept this name until December 2007, when it was given its current name.
CAS specializes in aircraft procurement and support services for aviation supplies. Package purchases of aircraft is one of the company’s main businesses.
Excluding the A330 GTA and MOU signed on June 30, CAS has signed 21 package-purchase contracts since 2002, covering a total of more than 1,500 commercial aircraft from major manufacturers such as Airbus and Boeing.