Airbus SAS won approval from China for orders of 60 planes valued at $8 billion, including 18 A330 wide-bodies that had been on hold amid Chinese opposition to a European Union proposal for tax carbon emissions.
China’s government gave its stamp of approval to the order yesterday in signing a general terms agreement at a ceremony in the presence of Chinese President Xi Jinping and French President Francois Hollande, who is visiting for two days, according to a statement by Airbus yesterday.
The order also includes 42 single-aisle aircraft in the A320 series. The agreement signed yesterday will allow Airbus to list in its backlog aircraft that may have already been the subject of firm contracts but lacked the final government backing required for Airbus to consider them certain.
Airbus had said during much of 2012 that it would be unable to start building 45 A330s that were the subject of firm orders from Chinese carriers because the Chinese government opposed EU plans to charge for carbon emissions, and was refusing to provide final confirmations for those aircraft.
The EU late last year backed down on its plan to tax emissions.
The Chinese government’s China Aviation Supplies Holding Co., which signed for the single-aisle planes yesterday, will later “assign” them to carriers that need them. In some cases, the aircraft will go to carriers that have already announced specific orders. Some may go to airlines who hadn’t yet publicly declared their intentions to add such planes to their fleets.
Order from China are different from those announced by carriers elsewhere, in that a “firm order” isn’t sufficient to get the plane into the order book because further confirmation by the government is required.