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China Eastern to buy 20 Boeing 777-300s

29 april 2012, 17:22
©REUTERS/David Gray
©REUTERS/David Gray
China Eastern Airlines will buy 20 Boeing 777-300 extended-range aircraft, announcing a deal worth nearly $6 billion at list prices, AFP reports citing Boeing.

"This additional commitment from one of the largest airlines in the world is a testament to the benefits the 777-300ER brings to the airline and its passengers," said Ihssane Mounir, Boeing vice president of sales for China and South Korea.

Boeing said it would work with China Eastern to obtain Chinese government approval of the purchase.

The Shanghai-based China Eastern is the second-largest airline in China in terms of passengers carried, after Air China.

The 777-300ER is an extended-range version of Boeing's twin-engine, long-haul 777 airplane. The wide-body plane carries 365 passengers up to 14,685 kilometers (9,125 miles).

Shares in Boeing were up a tick, 0.05 percent, at $77.03 in midday New York trade.

The big order for Boeing comes after the US aerospace giant hit some turbulence with China Eastern last year.

In October, China Eastern cancelled an order for 24 Boeing 787 Dreamliners in favor of a mixed order that included planes from the US firm's European rival, Airbus.

China Eastern ordered 45 Boeing 737s and 15 Airbus 330 widebody aircraft.

The new Boeing deal came against the backdrop of rising fears in Europe that China is blocking Airbus orders in reaction to a disputed European Union carbon tax on aircraft emissions.

Airbus said last month that it was concerned the Chinese government was holding up an order for 10 A330 long-haul planes.

Airbus parent company EADS said earlier in March that China was refusing to approve airline orders for 45 of its planes, including 35 A330s and 10 A380 superjumbos.

The EU carbon tax imposed on airlines took effect on January 1, but carriers will begin receiving bills only in 2013 after this year's carbon emissions have been assessed.

The EU says the tax will help it achieve a goal of cutting carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2020 and that it will not back down on the plan.

But more than two dozen countries, including China, Russia and the United States, have opposed the EU move, saying it violates international law.

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