* Orders include 18 A330, 42 A320-family jets
* Deal appears to reflect easing of EU emissions row
* Deal signed during China visit by France's Hollande
(Rewrites after Airbus confirms orders)
By Terril Yue Jones and Julien Ponthus
BEIJING, April 25 China signed a deal with
European planemaker Airbus on Thursday to purchase 60 planes, as
French President Francois Hollande began a two-day visit to
The deal, worth at least $8 billion at list prices,
partially lifts what Airbus has described as a Chinese boycott
on the purchase of long-haul A330 jets imposed during a recent
row with the European Union over airline emissions.
A large entourage of French businessmen is accompanying
Hollande, who is the first leader of a major western country to
visit China since President Xi Jinping was named to his post
Airbus said the order included 18 wide-bodied A330s.
According to the planemaker, China last year blocked orders
for up to 45 of the jets in protest at EU measures to make
foreign airlines pay for carbon emissions.
On Thursday, Airbus also announced Chinese orders for 42
smaller A320-family jets.
Some European industry officials had hoped for an order of
100 aircraft or more to feed China's rapid aviation growth.
A group of nations backed by China argues that the EU's
emissions trading scheme infringes their sovereignty, since it
bases the charges on whole trips, including the parts in non-EU
The EU says such measures are necessary under the bloc's
obligations to tackle pollution.
In November, the EU's executive Commission agreed to suspend
the scheme for foreign airlines for a year, pending
international negotiations and amid warnings of retaliation.
The suspension took effect on Wednesday and was officially
published just before Thursday's Chinese signing ceremony.
Citing the dispute, Airbus last year halted plans to
increase production of the A330 to 11 planes a month.
The EADS unit says 1,000 European jobs are at stake
in the decision on whether to go ahead with the plan, which
would lift production from a record 10 a month reached in early
It has not said how many orders would need to be unblocked
for the step-up in production to go ahead.
A United Nations aviation agency is overseeing efforts to
come up with a global policy on aircraft emissions.
(Additional reporting by Barbara Lewis; Writing by Michael
Martina and Tim Hepher; Editing by James Regan)