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China orders 26 Airbus aircrafts
Updated: 2004-10-10 10:19

Two Chinese airlines have ordered 26 Airbus aircraft. The signing ceremony took place in Beijing on Saturday evening.

Flag carrier Air China ordered six A319s, which are scheduled for delivery in 2005. The carrier plans to deploy the aircraft mainly on Chengdu-Lhasa and other routes linking high-altitude airports in Sichuan province and Tibet in southwest China.

"With its outstanding performance, the A319 is an aircraft suitable for our operations at high-altitude airports. It fits ourstrategic development in the western region of China perfectly," said Ma Xulun, president of Air China. "We will also benefit from the A319's similarity with our A320s, which will help us reduce training and maintenance costs, and increase our operational flexibility."

China Eastern Airlines and Airbus also signed a contract for the purchase of 20 A330-300 aircraft. "The purchase of the 20 A330-300s will satisfy the needs of China's strategic development and accommodate growing aviation market demand," said Luo Chaogeng, president of China Eastern Airlines. "Introduction of the aircraftwill enlarge our fleet and give a boost to our growth."

The twin-engine A330 combines some of the lowest operating costs of any aircraft ever designed with maximum flexibility for a wide range of route structures. The A330-300, which first entered service in early 1994, seats around 300 passengers.

Airbus's business in China has been steadily expanding since itfirst entered the country in 1985. The Airbus fleet in service in the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Macao has grown to more than 250 today from just 29 in 1995. A world-class training and support center, which represents a 80 million US dollar investment by Airbus, is fully operational in Beijing. Five Chinese companies are already involved in producing parts for Airbus aircraft.

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