China has agreed to purchase 50 Airbus A320s, including variants in the series, following a diplomatic business trip by German chancellor Angela Merkel.
The deal, estimated to be worth around $3.5 billion (£2.2 billion), according to bbc.co.uk, is a major victory for the European airplane manufacturer.
It has previously failed to sell planes to China following disputes between the country and the European Union over the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). Under the ETS, airlines are charged for the carbon that they emit. This ruling has meant many potential Chinese planes have been absent from international flight radar, as the nation refuses to purchase and fly larger aircraft while ETS remains in place.
State news agency Xinhua revealed that as well as the sale of aircraft, which includes orders for the A320neo – a souped-up, ultra-efficient narrowbody – China also made agreements about Airbus plane assembling in China.
The deal however, fell short of European expectations for a 100-plane order, says reuters.com. Airbus has previously estimated that China will need more than 4,000 new passenger and cargo aircraft over the next 20 years as a result of the country’s rapid growth.
Therefore China is a market that Airbus will be keen to keep pushing. One fifth of the company’s sales come from the world’s second-largest economy, and it is believed China will be continue to be an important export market for the next few decades.
“In the current economic environment every deal is a good deal. What counts is: aviation is and remains a growth industry, with Asia and China being significant drivers,” an Airbus company spokesman said of the deal.