IN-FIGHTING within the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has held up delivery of the first of two new Airbus Industrie A320 aircraft to Sichuan Airlines. Sources said the acquisition of the aircraft, the first of which was to have been delivered in June and leased from Californian-based International Lease Finance Corp, had been delayed for an 'unknown period'. The problem arose after officials from several of the about 40 airlines in China protested against the small Sichuan airline receiving such top-of-the-line aircraft. For months, different factions within the CAAC had been arguing over whether to allow Sichuan to accept the aircraft without reaching any resolution, the sources said. That has left the first jet sitting since May at Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France, although the airline's colours have been painted. News of the uncertainty came as Airbus was to announce the order of a US$15 million A320 flight simulator for its new $50 million training centre in Beijing. Airbus China president Rolf Rue was to reveal the order tomorrow to coincide with the mainland's largest biannual industry event, Aviation Expo '95. The five-day exhibition was opened yesterday by CAAC director Chen Guangyi, who said he hoped Western manufacturers and suppliers would help China cope with its aviation boom. More than 250 manufacturers and suppliers from 27 countries are taking part in the exposition. An Airbus spokesman declined to comment on the Sichuan delay but said the manufacturer had forecast 'a large number' of A320s would be needed in China in the coming years and that the simulator purchase would go ahead. The centre, due to be completed by the end of next year, is a joint venture with China Aviation Supplies Corp, the state company that does all the ordering of aircraft for mainland carriers. Meanwhile, a number of pilots from Sichuan Airlines needed to be re-rated before they could operate the A-320. Several two-person crews had been sent to Toulouse for their ratings on the aircraft in the first half of this year, but the delay meant the pilots had to be re-licensed because they had not performed the required number of take-offs and landings mandated under international civil aviation laws.