Airbus Inks Series of Aircraft Deals at Aviation Expo China

 - September 25, 2013, 10:39 AM
VietJetAir has taken delivery of nine leased A320s and plans to add as many as 100 more. (Photo: Airbus)

Airbus announced firm orders, purchase agreements and memoranda of understanding Wednesday at Aviation Expo China in Beijing covering 160 A320-family narrowbodies from four separate customers.

The largest of the deals involved Vietnamese low-fare airline VietJetAir, which signed an MOU covering 42 A320neos, 14 A320ceos and six A321ceos. Along with the 92 airplanes it plans to order directly from Airbus, VietJetAir has agreed to lease another eight A320s from a third-party lessor. Now flying eight leased A320s, the carrier took delivery of its ninth A320 this week, delivered new from Airbus via U.S. leasing company AWAS.

Yet another leasing company—Singapore-based BOC Aviation—signed a firm order for 25 A320-family jets, including 13 ceo and 12 neos. The order, which gives BOC the option of taking either A320 or A321 variants, comes less than a year after it placed another firm order for 50 A320s. BOC Aviation’s cumulative orders for Airbus airplanes now total 206 A320s and six A330s.

The other two deals Airbus announced Wednesday both involve newly established Chinese airlines. Qingdao Airlines, based in the eastern coastal city of Qingdao, in Shandong Province, signed a purchase agreement covering five A320ceos and 18 A320neos. That contract, still subject to approval by the Chinese government, calls for deliveries to start in 2016. The airline plans to start operations next year with leased A320s.

Finally, Hongzhou-based Zhejiang Loong Airlines signed an MOU covering 11 A320ceos and nine A320neos. Recently approved for operations by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), Zhejiang Loong plans to start business this year with domestic service from Hangzhou to first-tier airports such as Chengdu, Chongqing, Shenzhen and Xi’an. Regional and international operations would start within three to five years if the airline’s expansion ambitions materialize.