Sichuan Airlines orders 8 Airbus A320 aircraft
BY OUR AVIATION CORRESPONDENT
12 June, 2005: Sichuan Airlines has placed orders for six Airbus A320 aircraft and two A319s, scheduled for delivery from late 2005 to 2008. The aircraft are for expanding of Sichuan Airlinesfleet and operational capacity.
The aircraft, to be fitted with IAE V2500 engines, will be delivered in stages from the end of 2005 to 2008, when Olympics would be held in Beijing. However, the financial deal of the transaction was not divulged.
According to Sichuan Airlines President Lan Xinguo, “The planes will help us expand our fleet and increase our operational capability on high-altitude routes.”
The ties between Airbus and Sichuan Airlines go back to 1995, when the Chengdu-based carrier became the first A320 operator. At present, it has a stable of eight A320s, four A321s and two A319s, which have been operating in the Chinese mainland.
Some of the features of the A320 family are advanced fuel-saving aerodynamics, including winglets, widespread weight-saving carbon fibre composites and pilot and maintenance-friendly fly-by-wire controls, part from a centralised maintenance mechanism.
Airbus A320 family is hailed as the most successful aircraft family in the world and is being operated by over 180 carriers around the world. Firm orders for the Airbus A320 Family stand at some 3,400 aircraft, over 2,300 of which have been delivered to date. Around 180 A320 aircraft are in service in the Chinese fleet on the mainland, Hong Kong and Macao.
The Airbus fleet in service in the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Macao has grown to over 280 today from just 29 in 1995. Airbus had also invested around $80 million for a training and support center, which is currently operational in Beijing.
Airbus is at loggerheads with US rival Boeing for sales of jets in China, and is expected to build up a fleet of 2,800 aircraft in China the next two decades and become the world's second-largest after US.