China set to order over 180 Airbus jets

China is set to finalise orders for 184 Airbus A320-family aircraft, say media reports citing French president Emmanuel Macron, after talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing.

The orders will mainly be for A320neo jets with deliveries to 13 airlines scheduled in 2019 and 2020. It is unclear whether these are new orders, or were previously undisclosed.

A joint statement released by France and China says that both countries’ presidents encourage Airbus and its Chinese partners to explore new co-operation around the A330, A350 and A380.

“China is willing to continue purchasing Airbus aircraft through the mutually beneficial and friendly consultations with France regarding the development needs of China’s air transport market,” it adds.

“Both parties are happy about the prospect of signing new contracts in the future.”

The statement follows a framework agreement to ramp up A320 output at the Tianjin plant to six aircraft monthly by early 2020. The plant currently produces four aircraft per month.

Airbus is also reportedly offering China a role in its A380 production, in hopes of winning more orders for the slow-selling jet.

The airframer would only say that it attaches great importance to the Chinese market and is committed to enhancing co-operation with China.

“We believe it’s in the interests of both sides,” it says. “And China is one of the largest aviation markets and we’re proud to support its growth with our comprehensive product portfolio from 100 to 600 seats.”