- POSTED: 25 Sep 2013 20:09
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Three Chinese companies have ordered a total of 68 A320 aircraft, Airbus announced on Wednesday as air travel takes off in the world's most populous country.
BEIJING: Three Chinese companies have ordered a total of 68 A320 aircraft, Airbus announced on Wednesday as air travel takes off in the world's most populous country.
The aircraft-leasing firm BOC Aviation ordered 25 planes, Qingdao Airlines requested 23 planes and Zhejiang Loong Airlines sought 20, the European planemaker said in statements on the sidelines of an air show in Beijing.
Air travel is rising steadily in Asia and other emerging markets, with passenger trips in China reaching 320 million in 2012, up nine percent from the year before.
The orders marked a "vote of confidence in the long-term appeal of our popular A320 family", John Leahy, the chief operating officer for customers, said in a statement.
BOC Aviation's order includes 12 A320neos, which are designed to cut emissions and fuel consumption, while Qingdao Airlines' includes 18 and Zhejiang Loong Airlines' has nine.
The two latter carriers are both start-up airlines. Qingdao Airlines will begin operations next year and take delivery of the first A320s in 2016, the statement said. Zhejiang Loong will begin business this year.
Singapore-based BOC Aviation is the aircraft-leasing arm of the major state-owned Bank of China. Airbus A320s make up a core part of its fleet, its website says.
A BOC spokeswoman in Singapore told AFP that the list price for the 25 planes it ordered is $2.6 billion.
The company ordered another 50 A320s in January, half of them from the "neo" series, with delivery to begin next year and continue through 2019.
The airline Air China also ordered 100 A320s in May, due to be handed over between 2014 and 2020.
Airbus has a factory in China that assembles A320-series planes.
The company predicted in its annual industry forecast on Tuesday that the Asia-Pacific would overtake Europe and North America in air traffic by 2032.
With overall growth rising 4.7 per cent a year, the world would need another 29,000 new commercial aircraft over the next two decades, it said.
By then two-thirds of people in emerging markets would take a flight each year, compared to one in five now, Leahy said.