China’s ICBC Financial Leasing Co. Ltd. (ICBC Leasing), has signed a purchase agreement with Airbus for a total of 50 A320-family aircraft, including 30 A320ceo (current engine option) and 20 A320neo (new engine option) jets.
This is the second large Airbus A320-family order that ICBC Leasing has placed in 14 months. On June 28, 2011, China Aviation Supplies Holding Company – China’s aircraft-importing agency – and ICBC Leasing signed a General Terms Agreement (GTA) for 88 A320-family jets, as part of which ICBC Leasing placed a firm order for 42 A320-family aircraft.
It is not yet clear whether ICBC Leasing’s new order for 50 A320-family jets includes the 46 additional aircraft covered by the June 2011 GTA, plus four additional aircraft, or whether the August 30, 2012 order is a brand-new commitment.
The new aircraft order was signed at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing by Li Xiaopeng, senior executive vice president of ICBC and chairman of ICBC Leasing, and Fabrice Bregier, president and CEO of Airbus. It was one of a series of Europe-China agreements signed in the presence of visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.
“We decided to order more Airbus A320-family aircraft, not only A320ceo but also A320neo, to enhance our portfolio in anticipation of increasing demand of the aviation markets in China, Asia Pacific region and the world as well. The order indicates that leasing companies are playing a more important role in the aviation sector,” said Xiaopeng.
“We are delighted to see ICBC Leasing placing another order for the world’s best-selling single-aisle aircraft. In particular, the order for 20 A320neo makes ICBC Leasing the first Chinese customer for the fastest-selling aircraft, which offers a 15 per cent fuel burn reduction. We are proud to support the growth of Chinese leasing companies with our eco-efficient aircraft,” said Bregier.
By the end of July 2012, there were more than 700 A320-family aircraft in operation with 15 Chinese airlines.
As of today, more than 8,500 Airbus A320-family aircraft have been sold and more than 5,100 delivered to over 365 customers and operators worldwide.
The Airbus A320neo family is a new engine option for the A320 family entering into service from 2015 and incorporates latest generation engines and large ‘Sharklet‘ wingtip devices, which Airbus says together will deliver 15 per cent in fuel savings compared with today’s A320-family jets.
However, the A320neo has airframe commonality of greater than 95 per cent with the existing A320 family, making it an easy fit into existing fleets while offering up to 500 nautical miles (950 kilometers) more range or two tonnes more payload at a given range, according to Airbus.