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Orders for 86 A320 aircraft confirmed

China yesterday confirmed orders for 86 Airbus A320 family aircraft, worth a catalog price of about $6 billion. 

The orders are part of an agreement for as many as 150 A320 family aircraft Airbus clinched last October during then French president Jacques Chirac's State visit to China. Shenzhen Airlines will buy 28 jets, with Sichuan Airlines getting 18 and Hainan Airlines 13. Privately owned Juneyao Airlines and Spring Airlines will each purchase 6. The other 15 aircraft were ordered by China Aviation Supplies Import and Export Group Corp (CASGC). CASGC handles most of China's aircraft imports. These aircraft will most likely be assembled and delivered in Tianjin, Airbus said.

The single-aisle A320 family aircraft is the most successful Airbus model, receiving more than 5,000 orders with a backlog of over 2,000 jets. China operates over 270 A320 family jets, accounting for about two-thirds of Airbus' total fleet in the country.

Airbus plans to ramp up production of the A320s from 32 to 36 jets per month by the end of 2008 to meet strong market demand. The Chinese mainland will require more than 1,900 single-aisle aircraft, such as the A320 and the Boeing B737, in the next 20 years, according to an Airbus forecast. (