The Airbus A350 takes off for its maiden flight at the Toulouse-Blagnac airport in southwestern France June 14, 2013. (Provided to chinadaily.com.cn)
China Southern Airlines has signed a deal worth nearly billion to buy 20 aircraft from European plane maker Airbus SAS, the carrier announced on Wednesday.
The price of each Airbus A350-900 aircraft is at about 8.9 million, including airframe and engine, according to the catalogue price of Airbus SAS, a division of the multinational Airbus Group SE that manufactures civil aircraft.
The Guangzhou-based company, which ranks as Asia's largest airline by passenger numbers, will take delivery of the A350-900s starting in 2019, with all of the planes to be handed over by the end of 2022.
The total consideration will be paid to Airbus SAS in installments according to the respective delivery schedule for each of the relevant Airbus Aircraft from 2019 to 2022, according to the announcement.
China Southern, which recently agreed to sell a minority stake to American Airlines, is buying its first A350s as part of a push to expand the fleet to 1,000 planes by 2020 from 700 now, said Wang Changshun, the president.
The Airbus aircraft will boost China Southern Airlines' capacity in Aircraft Transport Kits or ATKs by 12.1 percent versus the level as of December 31, without accounting for retirements, said the company.
The Airbus A350-900 model can carry 325 passengers and 16 tons of cargo in a typical configuration, according to information on the Airbus website.
China Southern and its units have ordered more than billion of new aircraft from Airbus and Boeing Co since 2015 as more people fly in the world's most populous nation. The airline has been adding routes to Australia, New Zealand and countries in Southeast Asia as it competes with China Eastern Airlines Corp and Air China Ltd.
The International Air Transport Association predicts China will surpass the US to become the world's biggest air-travel market by 2024.