Airbus and China Aviation Supplies Holding Company (CAS) signed an agreement for Chinese airlines to purchase 300 aircraft during president Xi Jinping’s visit to France.

The order is thought to be worth tens of billions of dollars. Under the agreement, China will buy 290 A320-family aircraft and ten A350 XWB-family aeroplanes.

Airbus says its latest China Market Forecast for 2018 to 2037 predicts the country will need around 7,400 new passenger and freighter aircraft in the next 20 years to deal with growing demand for both domestic and international travel. China represents more than 19 per cent of the world’s total demand for more than 37,400 new aeroplanes.

The country’s airlines currently operate a fleet of around 1,730 Airbus aircraft, including 1,455 A320s and 17 A350 XWBs.

Signing the agreement, Guillaume Faury, president of Airbus commercial aircraft and future CEO, said: “We are honoured to support the growth of China’s civil aviation with our leading aircraft families – single aisle and widebodies. Our expanding footprint in China demonstrates our lasting confidence in the Chinese market and our long-term commitment to China and our partners.”

Both the A320 and A350 XWB families of aircraft are designed to be more environmentally friendly and efficient, with the A320neo saving 20 per cent on fuel costs and delivering a 50 per cent reduction in noise footprint compared to previous generations. The A350 XWB offers a 25 per cent decrease in fuel burn and emissions.

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