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Airbus strikes a blow in China. As economic uncertainties raise fears of a slowdown in airline orders for aircraft, the European planemaker signed off on a colossal success this Friday in China with the conclusion of several sales totaling 292 A320 NEO, value of $37 billion. This quantity pharaonic is divided between four Chinese airlines: China Eastern Airlines (100 copies), China Southern (96), Air China (64) and its subsidiary Shenzhen Airlines (32).
Unlike 2019, when 300 aircraft had already been sold, these orders were the subject of separate contracts with the various companies and not just a group agreement with the buyer. Chinese state CASC (China Aviation Supplies Holding Company). However, Airbus specifies that certain criteria must still be met before registering these devices in its order book.
Deliveries from 2023
The aircraft are split between all models of the A320 NEO family, but with a majority of A321 NEOs and only a handful of A319 NEOs. Enough to supply the Airbus production line in Tianjin, whose conversion to accommodate the A321 should be completed by the end of the year in order to meet the growing demand for this aircraft. the The European sites in Toulouse and Hamburg will also be mobilized, because the needs of Chinese companies are urgent. In fact, the first deliveries are scheduled from 2023. According to Reuters, the arrival of the planes will continue until 2027, with a peak in 2024. In view of this schedule, the first planes are already integrated into the production flow.
These dates are surprising when Airbus has been explaining for months that it will no longer have available delivery slots for the A320 NEO family for several years (Easyjet recently mentioned the date of 2027). A criticism cleverly brushed aside by Christian Scherer, its commercial director, who suggests that the negotiations began a long time ago: “We salute the excellent work of George Xu (Airbus China General Manager) and the entire Airbus China team as well.” as our client teams for bringing to life these long and deep discussions that have taken place during the difficult COVID pandemic.”
The A320 NEO surpasses the 737 MAX in China
These orders seem to definitively confirm the dominance of the A320 NEO in China against the Boeing 737 MAX. It has certainly sold close to 200 copies in the country, and has also been selected by the four companies mentioned above. But only China Southern bets on a significant number of 50 planes, China Eastern and Air China settle for about fifteen copies and Shenzhen Airlines with five. Notably, Boeing hasn’t closed a deal for its 737 MAX in China since 2016, except for three planes for lessor ICBC Leasing.
Opposite, Airbus was already at almost 300 orders and will therefore double its total. Above all, with the contribution of leased aircraft, close to 500 A320 NEO family aircraft are in service in the country.
UK orders in June
This announcement follows a successful month of June for Airbus, following an order for 14 aircraft (11 A320neo and 3 A321 NEO) obtained from the IAG group (British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Vueling) or even the one signed by Easyjet, which converted a purchase option on 56 A320 NEO aircraft into a firm order. And the month ended with the sale of two A350F Silk Way West Airlines.
at the end of may During the first five months of the year, Airbus recorded 364 gross orders including a large majority of medium radio. This is almost four times more than last year at the same time.
When the contracts with the various Chinese companies are counted, such as those in June, the European manufacturer’s annual order book will skyrocket to approach 700 aircraft.
Boeing far behind
Which relegates Boeing to the background: The US planemaker peaked at 236 orders at the end of May and hasn’t announced anything since. This is a setback for it, which already had 380 orders at the end of May 2021, before adding more than 200 more in the month of June alone, largely thanks to a giant contract from United Airlines to support the 737 restart. MAX.
The Farnborough Air Show, starting on July 18, could change cursors, aircraft manufacturers and airlines are always fond of announcement effects by revealing the major contracts already concluded during this type of event. But, after being overtaken in 2021, Airbus appears to have taken a comfortable lead in 2022.