Having been soundly beaten by Boeing in sales during the first nine months, Airbus experienced a major change in fortunes last week when it unveiled orders for 170 aircraft from China - including 150 A320 family aircraft and 20 A350 XWBs, and 65 A319s for US start-up Skybus.

The Chinese order comes as plans were confirmed to create an Airbus narrowbody final assembly line at Tianjin Binhai in China. The agreements were signed in Beijing by China Aviation Supplies Import and Export Group Corporation (CASGC) president Li Hai and Airbus president Louis Gallois in the presence of China's President Hu Jintao and France's President Jacques Chirac.

Meanwhile, the order from Skybus confirms plans that emerged earlier this year. Columbus, Ohio-based Skybus will initially operate leased A319s when it launches in early 2007.

CASGC is establishing an leasing partnership with lessor AerCap and France's Calyon Airfinance, which will initially focus on the narrowbody market.

Source: Flight International