Airbus signed a deal worth Ten billion dollar on Monday to sell 300 aircraft to China as part of a trade package coinciding with a visit to Europe by Chinese President Xi Jinping, a record high for Boeing’s Chinese aircraft.
The deal between Airbus and the Chinese government procurement agency, the China Aviation Supply Company, which often coordinates top-of-the-line deals during diplomatic visits, includes 290 A320s and 10 A350s.
French officials said the deal was worth about 30 billion euros at declared prices. Aircraft makers usually offer substantial discounts.
The larger-than-expected order – equivalent to an order for 300 Boeing planes – was signed when US President Donald Trump visited Beijing in 2017 – a year after China did not ask for orders in the midst of global trade tensions.
It also coincides with the suspension of the Boeing 737 Max, which overshadowed Boeing’s hopes for large aircraft orders as a result of any improvement in US-China trade relations.
There is no sign of any direct relationship between the Airbus deal, China-US tensions or Boeing’s fleet problems, but Chinese observers say Beijing has a long history of channeling diplomatic messages or trade-offs between suppliers through government aircraft deals.
“The conclusion of a large (aircraft) contract … is an important step forward and an excellent gesture in the current context,” French President Emmanuel Macron said.
The United States and China are close to a possible deal to ease their trade dispute for months, and until recently there was speculation that any possible settlement would include a deal for between 200 and 300 Boeing planes.