Chinese firms order 88 A320s

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China is placing orders for 88 Airbus A320-family aircraft, of which 42 will go to lessor ICBC Financial Leasing and another 46 to China Aviation Supplies Holding Company (CAS).

Airbus said the agreement, sealed in Berlin, comprises "all firm" aircraft. No engine selection has been given.

CAS president Li Hai signed a general terms agreement for 88 A320-family aircraft. ICBC, as part of this, has signed a purchase deal for 42 of the twinjets.

"This is the first order that ICBC Leasing has placed directly with an aircraft manufacturer," said Airbus, adding that ICBC has 68 aircraft in its portfolio.

"After a thorough assessment and study of the market, we have decided to place our very first order with Airbus for its A320 family," added ICBC Leasing chairman Li Xiaopeng.

"This strategic decision to start with the A320 family aircraft will help our customers to develop their business in the most profitable and sustainable way."

Airbus said that 13 Chinese carriers operate some 575 A320-family jets between them. The airframer has an assembly plant for the type in China.