Monday, February 26, 2024
HometransportationChina in talks with Airbus on possible $20 billion aircraft deal

China in talks with Airbus on possible $20 billion aircraft deal

China is in talks to buy at least 150 Airbus passenger jets potentially worth $20 billion when Xi Jinping pays his first visit to Europe as president at the end of this month, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

In a broad-ranging deal that could help reset trade relations between China and Europe after a bumpy year, China is expected to buy more A330 passenger jets as talks advance to open Airbus's second major factory in the country.

(Read more: Airbus CEO defends outlook, ramps up A320 production)

The "cabin completion" plant for A330s would bolster Airbus's presence five years after the opening of its first final assembly plant outside Europe in the Chinese port city of Tianjin, where Chinese workers put together A320 jets.

The deal could also involve a decision to unfreeze the purchase of 27 A330s blocked by China during a recent row with the European Union over environmental policies.

An Airbus A320 in manufacturer livery.Source: Airbus

A spokesman for Airbus, a subsidiary of Airbus Group , previously known as EADS, declined to comment. Chinese government officials were not immediately available to comment and spokespeople for major Chinese airlines including Air China , China Eastern and China Southern all declined to comment.

Both France and Germany are anxious to establish good ties with China's leader and announcements on the Airbus deal package of could be made in both countries, European officials said.

The package could also include some A320 and A350 aircraft, people familiar with the matter said.

(Read more: Airbus heading back to number 1 in deliveries: CEO)

The sources stressed, however, that the final size of the deal could change and would depend on last-minute talks. Previous state visits have included tough negotiations on the sidelines.

The sources declined to be named as the matter was confidential.

Airbus targets China

China remains the world's fastest-growing aviation market despite a recent slowdown in its economy, with a surge in outbound travelers fueling the expansion. One in four people from China traveled by plane last year, with that number set to rise to virtually the whole active population in the next two decades, Airbus says.

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