Air China firms order for 20 more A330s

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Air China’s board has approved an order for 20 more Airbus A330s for delivery from 2011.

The Star Alliance carrier says in a Hong Kong stock exchange filing that its board approved the signing of a purchase agreement yesterday. It says deliveries of the twinjets are scheduled to take place between early 2011 and 2014.

“The Airbus aircraft will increase the fleet capacity of the company in terms of available tonne kilometres per annum by approximately 16.5% compared with the company’s available tonne kilometres of 2007, and will principally reinforce Beijing’s position as a transportation hub and increase frequency of flights, departing originally from Beijing, of a number of key domestic or international routes,” it says.

The aircraft are believed to be from a bulk order for 40 A330s signed by the Chinese Government in November. China’s Government typically orders aircraft through bulk deals on behalf of several of the country’s carriers, after which final agreements are negotiated by the individual airlines.

Air China is an existing A330 operator, with 16 -200s in service and four more on firm order, according to Flight’s ACAS database.

Air China makes no mention of an engine selection for the new order. Its existing A330s are powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700s.