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Airbus expects 100 aircraft deliveries in China in 2010

Airbus expects to deliver almost 100 aircraft in China next year and is "cautiously optimistic" about air traffic growth in the market.

Almost 100 deliveries are scheduled in 2010, up from almost 80 this year, says Airbus China president Laurence Barron.

"We are cautiously optimistic for 2010. International and freight traffic has improved, and seems to have bottomed out," he says.

Airbus has also forecast that China will have nearly 200 Airbus A380s in the next 20 years, says Barron, adding that there is also potential for the double-decker jet to be used domestically.

"There's potential obviously in a country this size. Right now, flights from Beijing to Shanghai are always full and airlines are already using the A330 to serve such routes," adds Barron.

However, he adds that the A320 will still remain the main focus in China. There are 320 orders for the narrowbody jet in mainland China.

The Airbus Tianjin A320 final assembly line has delivered nine aircraft so far this year, and expects to deliver two more to Hainan Airlines subsidiary Deer Jet by year-end.

Airbus says all nine aircraft have had a dispatch reliability of 100%, and expects the final assembly line to turn profitable by 2012.

Despite future competition in the narrowbody market from the Comac C919, which is planned to enter service in 2016, Airbus China is not worried.

"We love competition and don't see it as a threat, so bring it on. As long as we continue to do what we are doing, which is to launch innovative products, why worry?" says Barron.

He adds that Airbus has no plans to make any specific changes to the A320 in response to the C919: "We spend $100 million a year to improve the A320 and we will continue to improve the aircraft on a permanent basis."

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