China Southern Airlines has signed a contract with Airbus today in Beijing for the purchase of ten additional Airbus A330s, which comprises eight A330-300s and two A330-200s. China Aviation Supplies Import and Export Group (CASGC) was also involved in this deal by signing a GTA with Airbus. The ten A330 aircraft will be delivered from 2007 to 2008. China Southern Airlines already operates four A330-200s on domestic trunk and international routes.
Si Xianmin, President of China Southern Airlines, Li Hai, President of CASGC and Iain Gray, General Manager of Airbus, signed the contract and GTA in the Great Hall of the People this morning. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and British Prime Minister Tony Blair witnessed the signing ceremony.
"As the largest carrier in China, we are planning to expand our business both domestically and internationally. The selection of ten additional A330s will definitely increase our capability and flexibility in the flight operation, especially in the domestic trunk and regional routes," said Si Xianmin. "We believe that this acquisition of additional A330s will not only further optimize the operation by improving the scale of economy of the A330 fleet, but also will help us to save pilot resources due to cockpit commonality with our growing fleet of A320 family aircraft."
China Southern Airlines, the first A330 customer on the Chinese Mainland, currently operates a fleet of over 60 Airbus aircraft, including 14 A319s, 27 A320s, ten A321s, six A300s and four A330s. On April 21, 2005, the Guangzhou-based carrier ordered five A380s and became the first customer for the aircraft in China and the 15th in the world.
"CASGC has enjoyed an excellent cooperative relationship with Airbus for many years. We are very pleased to be part of the successful cooperation between China Southern Airlines and Airbus," said Li Hai. "Through our joint efforts, Airbus can provide more modern and economic aircraft to Chinese airlines, while CASGC can offer high quality services to Chinese airlines."
"The repeat orders for the ten A330s once again, shows China Southern Airlines' new vote of confidence in Airbus aircraft and indicates the fast development of its business,? said Iain Gray. "This year is the twentieth anniversary of Airbus' entry into the Chinese market. Airbus wishes to continue to provide Chinese airlines with the best family of aircraft which matches their needs to further boost their development."
The A330 Family is the unquestioned leader in its category with a commanding market share and a continually expanding operator base. The A330-200 is the longest-range twin-engine Airbus aircraft in-service. A330 airliners have flown over five million operational hours with more than 60 customers and operators, including Hongkong-based carrier Cathay Pacific and Dragonair, which respectively have 26 and 12 A330s in service. A330's highly efficient cargo capabilities can enhance the airline?s profitability through freight operation. The A330 also offers the most spacious cabin of any wide-body aircraft in its category.
Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE Systems.