China Eastern Airlines took delivery of its 100th Airbus aircraft, an Airbus A320, becoming the first carrier to operate an Airbus fleet of more than 100 aircraft in China as well as in the whole Asia-Pacific region. The official delivery ceremony was held at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport today.
"During the past two decades, we have enjoyed a close relationship with Airbus and benefited from Airbus' non-stop innovation in aircraft design, manufacturing and the commonality of the Airbus family of aircraft. These advantages not only help strengthen our operational efficiency but also remarkably reduce our costs in aircraft maintenance, fuel consumption and pilot training," said China Eastern Airline Chairman Li Fenghua, "Today's 100th Airbus aircraft delivery opens a new phase in the mutually beneficial cooperation between China Eastern Airlines and Airbus."
"We are very proud and delighted to deliver the 100th Airbus aircraft to China Eastern Airlines, which sets a new significant milestone in the two-decade long close cooperation between our two companies," said Gustav Humbert, Airbus President and Chief Executive Officer at the delivery ceremony, "We admire the pioneering spirit of China Eastern Airlines and will continue to provide the most modern aircraft and the best technical support to the airline to ensure the rapid expansion of its business."
"Next year we will deliver the first A330 aircraft to China Eastern Airlines, which will help further increase its operational flexibility, especially on international and regional long-haul routes," added Gustav Humbert.
China Eastern Airlines took delivery of its first Airbus, an A310, in June 1985, marking the beginning of Airbus' entry into the Chinese market. By the end of August 2005, China Eastern Airlines had built up the largest Airbus fleet in China, including aircraft from the A300/310 family, the A320 family and the A340 family. China Eastern was also the first Airbus A319 operator and the first A340-600 operator on the Chinese Mainland. The airline also has 20 A330-200 and A330-300 aircraft on order.
To date, the Shanghai-based carrier has become one of the top three Chinese airlines with an extensive air network connecting Asia, Europe, America and Australia. Currently, China Eastern Airlines operates nearly 200 aircraft on more than 400 domestic and international routes.
With more than 3,600 Airbus single-aisle aircraft ordered and more than 2,500 delivered today, the A320 family is without doubt the airliner programme which has notched up the greatest success ever. The A320 Family has more than 160 customers and operators to its credit. By the end of August 2005, over 200 A320 Family aircraft were already in service with 9 operators in China, while a further 80 A320 Family aircraft are still on order.