February 28, 2014 / 10:05 AM / 6 years ago

China Eastern to buy 70 Airbus A320NEO for $6.4 billion

The logo of Airbus Group, Europe's largest aerospace group, is pictured in front of the company headquarters building in Ottobrunn, near Munich February 26, 2014. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

(Reuters) - China Eastern Airlines Corp Ltd (600115.SS) (0670.HK) has ordered 70 A320neo aircraft, marking a big victory for Airbus (AIR.PA), which has been actively marketing the upgraded variant of its popular A320 jet to Chinese carriers.

It is the first order by a Chinese airline for the plane. The European aircraft maker has been in discussion with Chinese carriers to sell hundreds of A320neos, company China president Eric Chen had told media last September.

The $6.37 billion deal will also help boost the competitiveness of the China Eastern, one of the country’s top three airlines, by increasing its capacity by about 13 percent, the carrier said in a stock exchange filing on Friday.

The aircraft are scheduled to be delivered from 2018 to 2020 and will be used to service short and medium routes, China Eastern said.

China Eastern also said it signed a separate deal with Airbus to sell back seven used A300-600 jets.

Airbus, which expects China to overtake the United States as the world’s largest domestic market by 2032, has invested heavily in the country. It manufactures the existing variants of the A320 at a factory in Tianjin.

Reporting by Hong Kong and Singapore newsrooms; Editing by Matt Driskill

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