Boeing is hoping to secure follow-on orders for a large number of 737s and 757s from Chinese operators, despite a push by Airbus Industrie to place up to 100 new jet airliners with China Aviation Supplies (CASC).

According to Boeing, a series of different proposals have been made to CASC for up to 100 aircraft, in an effort to counter similar competing offers made by Airbus. The European consortium is hoping to use French President Chirac's forthcoming visit to Beijing in mid-May to cement a deal.

The US manufacturer's offer is predominantly for new generation 737-600/700/800 and 757-200 narrowbody aircraft wanted by regional Chinese carriers already operating Boeing aircraft. Some airlines have submitted applications to CASC's parent body, the Civil Aviation Administration of China, for approval.

Xiamen Airlines and China Xinhua Airlines has each asked to purchase ten 737-700s and Yunnan three-700s with options for four more. Hainan Airlines has orders pending for three 737-800s, four -400s and three 767-300s, while China Xinjiang Airlines is in the process of selecting an engine for ten new 757. Several carriers have deliberately inflated the number of aircraft required on the basis that the CAAC traditionally cuts the final number approved.

Airbus similarly is likely to see the final quantity of aircraft ordered reduced to around 30. The deal is understood to include additional A320 or larger A321s for China Northwest and China Southern Airlines, three A340s for China Southwest and conversion of six outstanding A300-600R options held by China Northern Airlines.

Aero International (Regional) is also hoping to use the Chirac visit to clinch a China Xinjiang deal for five ATR 72 turboprops, plus five options. Shandong Airlines in the meantime, has signed a letter of intent to order three Saab 2000 to supplement four Saab 340s its leases from China Southern.

Source: Flight International