CHINA signed an agreement with Germany for 50 Airbus planes worth over $4 billion (R33.6bn) during Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Beijing yesterday, the first significant jet order since a row between Beijing and Europe over emissions trading.
The dispute between China and the EU had frozen earlier deals worth up to $14bn.
China’s ICBC Leasing and Airbus, whose parent company is Franco-German-led aerospace group EADS, had signed the deal for 50 Airbus A320-family planes and another agreement about assembling Airbus planes in China, state news agency Xinhua said.
China regularly orders aircraft in large batches timed to coincide with high-level contacts with US or European leaders, but the deal fell short of European expectations of a 100-plane order circulating on the eve of Merkel’s trip.
Airbus insisted it was satisfied with the deal, which includes the first Chinese order for its fastest-selling model, a revamped version of its narrow-body plane known as A320neo.
“In the current economic environment every deal is a good deal. What counts is: aviation is and remains a growth industry, with Asia and China being significant drivers,” said a company spokesman.
Officials said Airbus and Chinese authorities had also reached a $1.6 billion framework deal to extend an Airbus A320 assembly line at Tianjin near Beijing. – Reuters