By Fang Yan and Jonathan Standing
BEIJING, March 6 China's Juneyao Group, the
parent of Juneyao Airlines, is in talks with planemaker Boeing
and Airbus about acquiring more than 20 more
planes in a deal that may be worth more than $1.8 billion, its
chairman said on Thursday.
The aircraft will be used by a low-cost airline Juneyao
plans to launch in the second half of the year, Chairman Wang
Junjin told Reuters on the sidelines of China's annual
parliament session in Beijing.
"We are in talks with both of the planemakers now, we are
still evaluating the options," Wang said, adding he would not
consider the A320neo, a more fuel-efficient variant of the A320
narrowbody plane which Airbus has been marketing aggressively in
Juneyao's budget carrier subsidiary will fly a domestic
service from the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou initially
and then expand into Southeast Asia in the future, Wang said.
"We are glad if any customers show interest in our
airplanes," said Boeing spokesman Wang Yukui. An Airbus China
spokesman declined to comment.
Late last month China's aviation authority pledged to
promote the country's fledging budget airline industry with
supportive policies, a move industry observers say could lead to
a boom in low-cost air travel in the world's most populous
China's biggest low-cost carrier Spring Airlines, which has
a fleet of 40 A320s, is also set to make an order for up to 30
more A320s, according to its chairman Wang Zhenghua.
Juneyao Airlines operates a fleet of 34 Airbus planes and
flies on more than 70 domestic routes in China as well as to
Taipei, South Korea and some southeast Asian destinations.