Paris: While Boeing is struggling to recover from the 737 MAX crisis, its arch-rival Airbus inked a large deal to deliver 300 passenger jets to Chinese airlines. The deal was signed during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to France. The plane-manufacturer has not released the total value of the deal, the planes are roughly worth USD 35 billion, according to CNN. As per a statement by Airbus, 290 planes from the A320 family aircraft and 10 A350 XWB family aircraft will be delivered to Chinese airlines. The delivery date has not been announced yet.
The massive Airbus order comes amidst the global grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft after the two deadly crashes involving the same plane model took place within a span of five months. China was the first country to ground the Boeing 737 MAX jets following the devastating Ethiopian Airlines crash which killed all 157 people on board. Scores of countries and airlines followed suit, citing safety concerns. The A320neo directly competes with the Boeing 737 MAX jets, which still stand grounded following two fatal crashes involving the plane.
The two single-aisle aircraft, which fly short- and medium-haul routes, have each amassed thousands of orders from carriers around the globe. Both the Airbus and Boeing orders came from a Chinese government holding company that buys jets for state-owned carriers such as Air China and China Southern Airlines. Meanwhile, investigations are ongoing into the Ethiopian Airlines crash, where a Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet crashed just a few minutes after take-off from Adis Ababa earlier this month. Airbus’ huge order from China is similar to one announced by Boeing less than two years ago.