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Airbus to sell 160 planes to carriers
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Airbus SAS signed contracts worth US$17 billion to sell 160 commercial passenger jets to Chinese airliners, the plane maker said.


The orders, inked during French President Nicolas Sarkozy's first state visit to China, include 110 A320 jets and 50 of A330 planes, said Louis Gallois, chief executive officer of European Aeronautic, Defense & Space Co, Airbus's parent, after they were signed in Beijing yesterday.


The planes are worth a total of US$17.4 billion based on the catalogue price, which is not the final price as a discount will usually be offered for large orders. No delivery date was disclosed yesterday.


China Southern Airlines Co, the country's largest carrier by fleet size, is among the buyers with an order for 10 A330 aircraft. The carrier, the only one to place a firm order in yesterday's deal, is also the only Chinese mainland buyer of the Airbus superjumbo A380.


The deal was the second substantial order Airbus, the world's largest maker of commercial planes, has gained this month. On November 11, it won an order from Emirates for aircraft valued at as much as US$31 billion, including 70 A350 airliners and 11 double-decker A380s.


These deals are a boost for the Toulouse, France-based company, which has struggled with a weakening United States dollar and problems with its A350 long-haul plane and delays with the A380 superjumbo. The delay in deliveries of the A380 has caused the firm US$6.8 billion in charges.


Airbus officials said yesterday it will award Chinese firms five percent of supply contracts for the 300-seat A350, including wing flaps and rudders.


Its final assembly line in the northern Chinese city of Tianjian is set to deliver the first plane in early 2009. The plant is set to produce four A320s monthly by 2011.


(Shanghai Daily November 27, 2007)


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