UPDATE BOEING – China’s Big Three airlines are back in buying mood again. In just an hour or so, China Eastern, China Southern, and Air China announced orders for 292 Airbus A320neo family aircraft on July 1. China’s Big Three buy big with Airbus.

Air China has ordered 64 aircraft for itself and 32 for Shenzhen Airlines. Deliveries are scheduled between 2023 and 2027. Air China already operates 46 A320neo and 24 A321neo aircraft, Shenzen 27 A320neo’s. Air China has 33 A319s, 43 A320s, and 61 A321s. Shenzhen has 8 A319s and 76 A320s of the first generation.

China Southern ordered 96 aircraft and will also lease another nineteen neo’s. CS will take delivery of 30 aircraft in 2024, 40 in 2025, 19 in 2026, and 7 in 2027. China Southern has 39 A320neo and 53 A321neo in its fleet, plus two A319neo’s. The ceo fleet includes 9 A319s, 106 A320s, and 99 A321s.

China Eastern followed with an order for 100 A320neo’s for deliveries from 2024 through 2027. The carrier’s fleet includes   72 A320neo’s. The ceo fleet has 35 A319s, 173 A320s, and 77 A321s.

These new orders demonstrate the strong confidence in Airbus from our customers. It is also a solid endorsement from our airline customers in China of the performance, quality, fuel efficiency and sustainability of the world’s leading family of single aisle aircraft.” said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer in a media statement.

These orders are the biggest ones by Chinese carriers since the start of the pandemic in 2020 and seem to reflect the confidence with the airlines that the country is getting out of the crisis.

Boeing feels the pain

While it’s too early to tell what this means for any plans to order aircraft with Boeing, the Airbus deal is seen as a serious blow to the US airframer. Boeing is keen to score new orders, in particular for the MAX, but still awaits confirmation that the type is fully cleared for entry into service. Boeing says it has some $10 billion in aircraft for Chinese customers, ready to be delivered.

In a media statement on the latest orders by the Big Three, Boeing said on July 1: “Today’s announcement is an example of how constructive dialogue between governments encourages job creation and the other benefits that result from open aerospace markets. As a top U.S. exporter with a 50-year relationship with China’s aviation industry, it is disappointing that geopolitical differences continue to constrain U.S. aircraft exports. We continue to urge a productive dialogue between the governments given the mutual economic benefits of a thriving aviation industry. Boeing aircraft sales to China historically support tens of thousands of American jobs, and we are hopeful orders and deliveries will resume promptly.”

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Active as journalist since 1987, starting with regional newspaper Zwolse Courant. Grand Prix reporter in 1997 at Dutch monthly Formule 1, general reporter Lelystad/Flevoland at De Stentor/Dagblad Flevoland, from 2002 until June 2021 radio/tv reporter/presentor with Omroep Flevoland.
Since mid-2016 freelance aviation journalist, since June 2021 fully dedicated to aviation. Reporter/editor AirInsight since December 2018. Contributor to Airliner World, Piloot & Vliegtuig. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.

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