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Merkel visit marks major Airbus order


Merkel visit marks major Airbus order


Beijing is buying 50 Airbus A 320 planes and will assemble more aircraft in China by extending an assembly line at Tianjin near the capital.

The deals were signed to coincide with a visit there by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Other trade agreements focused on cars, energy, the environment and health.

They went ahead despite a dispute between Beijing and the European Union over emissions trading had interrupted earlier deals.

China regularly orders aircraft in large batches timed to coincide with high-level contacts with US or European leaders.

Airbus expressed satisfaction with the deal even though it has reportedly been hoping for orders for up to 100 planes.

A company spokesman said: “In the current economic environment every deal is a good deal. What counts is: aviation is and remains a growth industry, with Asia and China being significant drivers.”

Merkel was due to visit Tianjin where Airbus has just finished assembling the 100th passenger jet pieced together from parts shipped from Europe since 2009, under an agreement that runs out in 2016.

Short-range aircraft such as the A320 have been spared any fallout from a recent row between China and the European Union over airline emissions as China seeks to meet domestic demand and promote skills required for its own fledgling aircraft industry.

China continues however to block the purchase of some 35 larger Airbus aircraft to protest against EU plans to enforce a carbon reduction scheme that opposing nations deem unfair.

Airbus has a 48 percent market share against Boeing in China, with the world’s second largest economy making up 20 percent of its worldwide deliveries.

Airbus estimates China will need 4,270 new passenger and cargo aircraft in the next 20 years, dominated by narrow body aircraft like the A320 or its US rival Boeing’s 737.

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