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China Southern to lease 10 Airbus planes
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China Southern Airlines said today that it planned to lease 10 Airbus A330 aircraft instead of buying them to improve its debt structure.

The carrier will transfer its right to buy eight A330s to Shenzhen Financial Leasing Co and two aircraft to HSBC Holdings, and then lease the planes from the two companies, it said in a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange yesterday.

China Southern originally signed the order with Airbus in September 2005, which was worth up to US$1.6 billion based on catalog prices.

The country's largest carrier by fleet size operates about 1,300 flights with a fleet of more than 330 planes.

It announced in August that it plans to buy 55 Boeing B737 aircraft to meet growing demand and renew its fleet. It will pay for the planes with a combination of cash and bank loans. The aircraft will be delivered from May 2011 to October 2013.

(Shanghai Daily, February 25, 2008)

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