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Macron reveals China to purchase 184 Airbus jets

FRENCH President Emmanuel Macron said yesterday that a contract with China for 184 Airbus A320 narrow-body jets would be finalized soon and that his country also had ambitions to sell A350 and A380 planes to China in coming weeks or months.

The potential A320 order, which had not been previously announced, would be worth more than US$18 billion at list prices. “On the order for 184 A320s, it’s something that will be finalized shortly,” Macron said, adding that it was confirmed to him by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“President Xi confirmed to me that China will maintain the volume of orders in the coming years and preserve parity with the market shares of Airbus and Boeing,” Macron said.

“And we also have ambitions on A350 and A380 mid-range and large carriers in the weeks or months to come,” Macron said as he wrapped up a visit to China with several business deals.

The A320s would be delivered in 2019 and 2020, a French presidency official said.

Ahead of Macron’s trip, sources had said that Airbus was in talks about an order for 100 or more jets.

New jet orders have historically featured during such tours by French leaders.

While no deal has been finalized over the current official visit, Macron said Chinese officials had assured him that Beijing would respect market-share parity between Airbus and Boeing.

China regularly splits large orders between Europe and the United States to cope with its fast expanding airline traffic, but the momentum has recently been with rival Boeing, which sold 300 jets during a visit by US President Donald Trump last November.

China, however, placed a large order for 140 Airbus jets during a visit to Germany by Xi last July.

Airbus signed a provisional deal on Tuesday to boost the number of A320 family jets assembled in Tianjin to six a month by 2020 from four currently.

Other business deals were made during Macron’s visit, including one for French state energy giant Areva to help to build a nuclear spent fuel reprocessing plant in China.

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