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Air China orders seven Boeings
By Da Shan (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-09-03 09:20

The Boeing Company said yesterday it has finalized an order with Air China for seven 737-700 jetliners worth about US$360 million at list prices.

Delivery of the airplanes, which will boost the Chinese flag carrier's Boeing fleet to 139 airplanes, is to begin in November 2005, and extend through mid-2006.

The new Boeing 737-700s will be powered by CFM56-7 engines produced by CFMI, a joint venture of General Electric Co of the United States and Snecma of France.

"Our great relationship with Air China goes back to the airline's beginning and we're proud to be part of their success," said Rob Laird, vice-president of China Sales of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Officials at Air China were not available for comment, but Boeing said the operator will use the airplanes on its domestic routes.

"China is one of the fastest growing markets in the world for commercial aviation," said Randy Baseler, vice-president of Marketing of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

China is expected to place orders for about 2,400 new jet airplanes worth US$197 billion over the next 20 years, he said.

"China's airlines will add 1,960 new airplanes to serve domestic markets including Hong Kong and Macao," Baseler said. Nearly 440 new airplanes will be added to China's airlines to provide international service.

By 2022, Chinese carriers will fly more than 2,850 passenger and cargo airplanes, making China's fleet the second largest next to the United States, Baseler said.

"The need for new airplanes is required to support a 7.1 per cent annual increase in air travel in China from 2003 to 2022, compared to the world average of 5.1 per cent," he said.

David Wang, president of Boeing China, said his company would try to obtain more orders from China.

Boeing would also continue to expand its industrial co-operation with Chinese companies.

The ARJ21 jet, a new regional jet model to be built by China Aviation Industry Corp I, is supported by Boeing technical contracts, Wang said.

The joint venture BHA Aero Composites Co Ltd will have additional opportunities as airplane production rates and support contracts increase, he said.

"We plan to increase production rates for model 737 airplane assemblies built in China at Xi'an, Shanghai and Shenyang," he said.

Boeing is also planning a new major airplane maintenance and repair facility in Shanghai, he said.

Boeing and China's industrial co-operation began in the mid-1970s. Since then, teams of Boeing manufacturing, quality and planning experts have resided in China providing on-site training for building Boeing parts and assemblies.

Today, China's aviation manufacturing companies are playing key roles in Boeing's global supplier network, Wang said.

There are now more than 3,200 Boeing aircraft flying worldwide that include major parts and assemblies build in China. "This equals more than a quarter of all Boeing airplanes in service worldwide," Wang said.

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