March 19 China is in talks to buy at least 150
Airbus passenger jets potentially worth $20 billion when Xi
Jinping pays his first visit to Europe as president at the end
of this month, people familiar with the matter said.
In a broad-ranging deal that could help reset trade
relations between China and Europe after a bumpy year, the deal
could include an agreement to buy more A330 passenger jets in
exchange for a deal to open Airbus's second plant in the
The "cabin completion" plant for A330s would bolster
Airbus's presence, five years after the opening of its first
final assembly plant outside Europe in the Chinese port city of
Tianjin, where local workers piece together complete A320 jets.
The deal could also involve a decision to unfreeze the
purchase of 27 A330s blocked by China during a recent row with
the European Union over environmental policies.
A package to be announced during French and German stages of
the trip could also include some A320 and A350 aircraft, the
people familiar with the matter said. However, the final outcome
depends on negotiations that could continue up to the last
A spokesman for Airbus, a subsidiary of Airbus Group
, previously known as EADS, declined to comment. The
people declined to be identified as they are not authorised to
speak to the media due to the confidentiality of the matter.
(Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Miral Fahmy)