China seeking jetliners as French prime minister prepares to head to Beijing

Industry sources say the government-owned China Eastern Airlines has called for bids on 150 aircraft such as the Airbus 320 or the Boeing 737

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2018, 12:15am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2018, 3:07am

China Eastern Airlines has called for bids to supply 150 single-aisle jetliners such as the Airbus A320 or Boeing 737 as Airbus seeks to revive a stalled plane deal with China, industry sources said.

The Airbus talks come as French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe prepares to embark on an official trip to Beijing this weekend and as the United States threatens to impose new tariffs on Chinese goods.

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French officials cautioned that there were no signs of an imminent aeroplane deal.

China’s ICBC Financial Leasing has also expressed interest in placing an Airbus aircraft order, the sources said.

Expectations of a deal between Airbus and China were thwarted earlier this year, with some sources linking this to a brief diplomatic chill after the publication of remarks by European envoys over China’s sensitive relations with Japan.

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Separately, China’s Hainan Airlines has emerged as the buyer in a deal recently reported by Airbus for 15 A350 jets worth US$4.8 billion, industry sources said. Airbus listed the order earlier this month without naming the buyer.