HONG KONG Feb 14 Chinese aircraft leasing company BOC Aviation said on Tuesday that it has ordered 20 C919 aircraft from China's state-owned plane maker, a deal it says will help the country's first home-grown large passenger jet gain access to new markets.
Singapore-based BOC Aviation, a subsidiary of Bank of China Ltd , signed the deal with Commercial Aircraft Corp of China Ltd (COMAC), whose aircraft is designed to compete with Boeing Co's 737 and Airbus's A320 in the narrow body segment.
BOC Aviation said the deal would make it the eleventh customer of C919, but did not give financial details.
"With a global reach and long-term commitment to the industry, BOC Aviation is confident we can help COMAC open markets for the C919 first in China and then globally," said BOC Aviation Managing Director and Chief Executive Robert Martin in a statement.
Martin said the deal would build on a 50 billion yuan ($7.94 billion) cooperation agreement signed between Bank of China and COMAC in June 2011.
Major Chinese airlines, China Development Bank Corp's CDB Leasing, General Electric Co's GE Capital Aviation Services and the leasing arms of Industrial and Commercial bank of China Ltd and Bank of Communications Co Ltd have also ordered C919s.
BOC Aviation, a 25-year industry veteran, ordered 15 Embraer SA E190 aircraft last November worth $642 million at list price, in a bid to meet demand from airlines for smaller passenger jets to develop new markets.
Martin said in September last year that problems faced by European banks provided an opportunity to grab market share in the aircraft financing industry. ($1 = 6.2971 Chinese yuan) (Reporting By Alison Leung; Writing by Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Chris Lewis)