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    Wednesday, June 5, 2024

    Airbus in Talks to Sell Over 100 Widebody Jets to Chinese Airlines

    Airbus SE is negotiating a major sale of A330neo aircraft to China, with talks gaining momentum since President Xi Jinping visited his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron last month, Bloomberg reports.

    The largest Chinese airlines are considering buying more than 100 of the upgraded A330 models, according to people familiar with the matter. The terms are still being discussed and the timing is uncertain, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential.

    The negotiations underscore the increasingly stark contrast between Airbus and Boeing Co when it comes to doing business in China’s crucial aviation market as geopolitical tensions between the Asian nation and the US run high. An order of that magnitude would be significant considering it’s for a single type of jet across a range of carriers, and it’s been around two years since Airbus’s last China transaction.

    China has once again halted imports from US-based Boeing, just months after it had restarted following a five-year drought, as regulators review a cockpit voice recorder design already approved by their counterparts in the US and Europe.

    Meanwhile France-based Airbus benefits from its local investment in Asia’s largest economy, including a factory that builds the workhorse A320neo model and another that installs interiors in the A330, and was one of the key beneficiaries of Xi’s recent outreach to European leaders.A spokesman for Airbus declined to comment. Air China Ltd, China Southern Airlines Co and China Eastern Airlines Corp didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

    State-owned procurement agency, China Aviation Supplies Holding Co, didn’t immediately respond to a fax seeking comment.

    Airbus shares climbed as much as 0.3 per cent in early trade in Europe. The stock is up 12 per cent this year, versus Boeing’s 29 per cent drop.

    Any order from China would shore up the backlog for the slower selling A330neo, which is an updated version of the older A330 with new engines and wings.

    Airbus also makes the more advanced and longer-range A350 model that has seen a flurry of orders in the last couple of years and is sold out until almost the end of the decade.

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