(A brand new Airbus A350 makes its debut at Airshow China 2016)
China Southern Airlines has signed a deal worth nearly $6 billion to buy 20 aircraft from European plane maker Airbus SAS, the carrier announced on Wednesday.The Guangzhou-based company, which ranks as Asia's largest airline by passenger numbers, will take delivery of the A350-900s starting in 2019, with all of the planes to be handed over by the end of 2022.
China Southern, which recently agreed to sell a minority stake to American Airlines, is buying its first A350s as part of a push to expand the fleet to 1,000 planes by 2020 from 700 now, said Wang Changshun, the president.The Airbus A350-900 model can carry 325 passengers and 16 tons of cargo in a typical configuration, according to information on the Airbus website.
China Southern and its units have ordered more than $15 billion of new aircraft from Airbus and Boeing Co since 2015 as more people fly in the world’s most populous nation. The airline has been adding routes to Australia, New Zealand and countries in Southeast Asia as it competes with China Eastern Airlines Corp and Air China Ltd.
The International Air Transport Association predicts China will surpass the US to become the world's biggest air-travel market by 2024.(China Southern Airlines Exhibition Booth at Airshow China 2016)