Air France-KLM and Qantas move to Airbus, Allegiant Air and IAG move to Boeing, loyalty to a mid-range manufacturer is no longer required. Now it’s Xiamen Airlines’ turn to change their jacket. However, the exclusive operator of Boeing, the Chinese company, has just signed a firm order for 40 aircraft of the Airbus A320 NEO family. The contract was signed by its parent company China Southern Airlines on September 22 and adds to the copies already ordered by the latter a few months ago. The European manufacturer thus strengthens its position in the Chinese mid-distance market a little more.
This is a blow to Boeing because Xiamen Airlines is not content to switch manufacturers during a fleet renewal. In fact, it was already a 737 MAX customer with ten devices received and 30 more orders. But the plane obviously no longer suits it: its fleet has been parked since March 2019 and the second fatal accident of the 737 MAX, despite the lifting of Chinese restrictions on aircraft since the end of 2021. Last April, the company had Sin However, it has initiated modifications with a view to getting the fleet flying again, but without giving a timetable for its return to service.
The order likely includes A320 NEOs and A321 NEOs, but the layout is not specified. According to China Southern Airlines, the list price of the 40 planes ranges from $105 million to $136 million depending on the model, for a total of $4.85 billion. They will be delivered between 2024 and 2027, which is relatively fast given the current strong demand for a position in the Airbus mid-haul queue.
According to China Southern Airlines, this order should allow Xiamen Airlines to “ensure its strategic development, continue to stimulate the structural adjustment of its fleet, maintain a steady pace of introduction of A320 NEO family aircraft” in accordance with its five-year plan. .
Also a customer of the 737 MAX, China Southern no longer seems to really trust the Boeing plane, despite test flights in recent months. Thus, it signed a firm contract with Airbus last July for 96 aircraft of the A320 NEO family, for an amount of more than 12,000 million dollars at catalog prices and with deliveries there also between 2024 and 2027.
Acquisition of NEO in China
The announcement of this order was coordinated with those of three other Chinese companies for a total of 292 aircraft: China Southern therefore with 96 copies, but also China Eastern Airlines (100), Air China (64) and its subsidiary Shenzhen Airlines ( 32). Which definitely supports the dominance of the A320 NEO in China against the Boeing 737 MAX.
The American manufacturer has certainly sold about 200 examples of its medium-haul plane in the country, but there has been no contract since 2016 except for three planes for the rental company ICBC Leasing. Opposite, Airbus has now obtained more than 600 orders in the country. Above all, with the contribution of leased aircraft, close to 500 A320 NEO family aircraft are in service in the country.