Air China to buy 20 A350-900 wide-body aircraft from Airbus

The Airbus logo is pictured at Airbus headquarters in Blagnac near Toulouse, France, March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

BEIJING/PARIS (Reuters) - Air China Ltd 601111.SS, China's flagship carrier, will buy 20 A350-900 jets from Airbus SE AIR.PA, both companies said, bolstering the European planemaker's order book for wide-body jets against Boeing Co BA.N amid Sino-U.S. trade tensions.

Air China on Thursday said the order is worth $6.54 billion, based on list prices, and that deliveries were scheduled from 2020 through 2022. It also said it has the right to swap five of the 20 jets for the larger A350-1000.

Airbus, in a statement to Reuters, confirmed the order was new. That means Air China’s total order for the aircraft type now stands at 30 planes, helping Airbus narrow a deficit in wide-body orders against its U.S. rival.

Boeing won a positive total of 61 wide-body orders in the first half of this year against Airbus’ negative tally of 35 jets, meaning the European planemaker had more cancellations than orders in the period for twin-aisle aircraft.

Air China’s latest order comes as the Chinese and U.S. governments continue a year-long trade dispute which has disrupted global supply chains and rattled financial markets.

The recent U.S. blacklisting of Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL] prompted speculation of retaliation against American firms. China said it would not discriminate against foreign companies.

Reporting by Stella Qiu and Se Young Lee in Beijing and Tim Hepher in Paris; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Christopher Cushing