Airbus Sees Strong Orders from China

Sept. 4, 2007
Will put assembly line in China

Airbus said Sept. 3 it expects China to order 100 to 150 planes per year from the company over the next five years to meet heavy demand from its booming aviation market. "With the demand that big, that's why we decided to put our own assembly line in China," John Leahy, Airbus chief operating officer, said at the Asian Aerospace International Expo and Congress in Hong Kong.

Earlier this year, Airbus announced it would open an assembly plant in the northern city of Tianjin, which would eventually make four A320s a month. Leahy would not say whether the aircraft maker plans to expand that assembly line but said this would depend on the demand for its aircraft.

While Airbus has already sold five A380s super jumbos to mainland Chinese airlines, Leahy expects China will have a total of 113 jumbo jets over the next two decades, excluding Hong Kong. He also predicts rapid growth in the number of passenger fleets over the next two decades for the world's two fastest growing aviation markets -- with another 2,000 planes for China and 1,000 for India. China's domestic air traffic is expected to double every five years and aviation authorities believe three of their airlines will be among the world's top 10 both in terms of passenger traffic and revenue by 2020.

India is enjoying a similar boom. While the country had just three private airlines in 2003, at least 14 are now seeking government approval and around 480 aircraft are on order for delivery through to 2012.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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