China Eastern Airlines signs $6.37bn Airbus jet deal
March 4, 2014, Shanghai, China - China Eastern Airlines has signed an agreement with Airbus to purchase 70 A320neo aircraft, worth $6.37 billion, as the airline plans to increase its capacity.
To be delivered to the state-run China Eastern in stages from 2018 to 2020, the aircraft will be put into operation in short and medium routes.
The latest deal will improve the Chinese carrier's competitiveness in the civil aviation market by boosting its capacity by nearly 13%, as the airline plans to launch additional short and medium-distance passenger air transportation routes across the region.
According to China Eastern, the purchase of the Airbus aircraft will further optimize its fleet, while reducing jet fuel consumption and operating cost per unit.
The acquisition has secured directors' approvals, and is subject to approvals from shareholders and relevant regulatory authorities.
China Eastern has also entered into a separate disposal agreement with Airbus to sell back seven used A300-600 jets to the aircraft maker, with plans to eliminate these aircraft from its operation in 2014. Financial details of the deal have not been divulged.
In late-February, Airbus announced its plans to raise the output of its A320 aircraft family to 46 per month in the second quarter of 2016, from the current monthly rate of 42.
The increase of production to the new number is a gradual process, and the company will begin an intermediate step by producing 44 aircraft per month in the first quarter of 2016.