Two Chinese airlines order 43 A320 jets: Airbus

Two Chinese airlines order 43 A320 jets: Airbus

BEIJING - Two start-up Chinese airlines have ordered 43 A320 jets, Airbus said Wednesday on the sidelines of a Beijing air show, as air travel takes off in the world's most populous country.

Qingdao Airlines requested 23 planes and Zhejiang Loong Airlines sought 20, the European planemaker said in a statement.

Air travel is rising steadily in Asia and other emerging markets, with passenger trips in China reaching 320 million in 2012, up nine per cent from the year before.

"We welcome Qingdao Airlines as a new member of the big Airbus family," chief operating officer for customers John Leahy said in the statement.

"The commitment from Zhejiang Loong Airlines is another vote of confidence for our popular A320 family."

Qingdao Airlines' order includes 18 A320neos, which are designed to reduce emissions and fuel consumption, while Zhejiang Loong Airlines' includes nine A320neos.

Both carriers are new companies. Qingdao Airlines will start operations next year and take delivery of the first A320s in 2016, the statement said.

Zhejiang Loong will begin business this year.

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