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Air China Plans to Add 100 Airbus Planes on Travel Demand

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May 8 (Bloomberg) -- Air China Ltd., Asia’s biggest carrier by market value, plans to add 100 Airbus SAS planes to help meet rising travel demand.

The board approved the expansion for the company and its units, Air China said in a statement yesterday. The Beijing-based airline didn’t specify a timeframe or the type of aircraft it’s buying.

Carriers in China will need 5,260 new planes worth $670 billion through 2031, Boeing Co. forecast in September. China has become the world’s biggest source of tourists, overtaking Germany and the U.S., after its citizens increased the number of outbound trips by 18 percent last year, according to the Beijing-based China Tourism Academy in April.

“We see the order as positive,” Credit Suisse AG analysts led by Davin Wu wrote in a note to clients today. “We believe that the orders are mainly narrow-body A320 aircraft for short-haul routes.”

Air China rose 1.3 percent to close at HK$6.79 in Hong Kong. Its shares traded in Shanghai gained 1.5 percent to 5.51 yuan.

Air China also said yesterday that its board approved the early disposal of six A340 planes, a four-engine wide-body jet that Airbus stopped manufacturing following slack demand. The carrier, which had a fleet of 301 aircraft at the end of December, is due to receive 113 planes in the three years through 2015, it said in March.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jasmine Wang in Hong Kong at jwang513@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Vipin V. Nair at vnair12@bloomberg.net

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