Two Chinese airline startups and a Singapore-based plane-leasing company owned by the Bank of China on Wednesday ordered 68 Airbus A320 short- and medium-range narrow-body commercial jets at the 15th Aviation Expo China 2013 in Beijing. The deals are worth a total of $6.75 billion for Airbus maker EADS NV (EPA:EAD), headquartered in Leiden, Netherlands.
The deals underscore China’s efforts to rapidly expand its domestic aviation infrastructure. The country is currently working to upgrade its more than 120 airports, most of which cannot handle jumbo-sized jets but can send and receive aircraft the size of the A320.
The three deals break down as follows:
* BOC Aviation ordered 25 A320s, including a dozen A320neo jets, the more fuel-efficient version due out in 2015. A company spokeswoman in Singapore, where the aircraft-leasing company owned by the state-owned Chinese bank is located, told Agence France-Presse the deal is worth $2.6 billion. BOC Aviation ordered 50 A320s last year. Including the latest order, the company has 206 A320s and six A330s.
* Qingdao Airlines Co. Ltd., based in eastern coastal Shandong province, ordered 23 A320s, including 18 of the newer models. The carrier is a startup scheduled to begin service next year. The first of these aircraft aren’t due until 2016, so Qingdao will be using leased jets in the interim.
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* Zhejiang Loong Airlines, which is starting limited operations this year with plans for more regional and international routes within five years, ordered 20 A320s, including nine of the upcoming aircraft. The Hongzhou-based carrier is now establishing routes to major first-tier Chinese cities, including Chengdu and Chongqing.