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Airbus eyes 150-jet China contract: report

by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Sept 13, 2010
European jet maker Airbus is negotiating with China for the sale of 150 planes with a catalogue price of 16 billion dollars (12 billion euros), French business daily La Tribune reported on Monday.

Citing anonymous sources, La Tribune said talks between Airbus and China were for 120 medium-haul A320s and 30 long-haul A330s and A350s.

The deal is expected to be formally unveiled in November during a planned visit to France by Chinese President Hu Jintao, La Tribune said.

The newspaper reported some of the sources saying the total number of jets could be as high as 200 or more and could include A380 superjumbos.

"Discussions have just begun with Air China over five to 10 models" of the A380, the paper said.

France's junior transport minister, Dominique Bussereau, is set to meet his Chinese counterparts on Tuesday during a visit to China.

earlier related report
China Southern airlines hit by two safety incidents: report
Beijing (AFP) Sept 13, 2010 - A China Southern Airlines passenger jet caught fire Monday just before it was due to take off, in the second incident to hit the carrier in less than 24 hours, an official and state press said.

A fire broke out early Monday in the cargo hold of an Airbus A321 passenger jet operated by China Southern at an airport in the southern city of Guangzhou, an airline official who asked not to be named told AFP.

An investigation into the fire was under way, he said.

The state-run Xinhua news agency said the fire started after passengers had already boarded the jet, adding that an initial probe found that "combustibles" in the cargo hold were to blame, without offering details.

On Sunday, thick smoke was seen coming from the wheels of another China Southern plane as it landed with more than 100 passengers aboard in the northern city of Xian, Xinhua said.

No casualties were reported in either incident, it said.

However, they follow other incidents that have raised doubts over aviation safety in the country, particularly the August 24 crash of a Brazilian-made passenger jet operated by Henan Airlines.

The plane missed a runway in northeastern China's Heilongjiang province, killing 42 people and injuring another 54. It was the deadliest commercial plane crash in China since 2004.

The incident in Xian involved a McDonnell Douglas MD90 jet, Xinhua said. That jet took off again later Sunday after repairs, it said.

The smoke was caused by an oil leak in a tyre and high temperatures in the wheel hub, it added, quoting the airline.

In the days following the Henan Airlines crash, the wings of a Huaxia Airlines jet scraped the ground when landing in the southwestern city of Guiyang.

China's aviation watchdog subsequently ordered Huaxia to suspend all flights and launch a safety inspection of all of its aircraft.

Authorities had already ordered safety checks of the country's fast-growing civil aviation fleet of 1,300 planes in the wake of the Henan Airlines disaster.

The government has also ordered reviews of the qualifications of all pilots and other domestic airline personnel after it was found that around 200 pilots had lied on their resumes.

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Air China to buy four Boeing 777s
Hong Kong (AFP) Sept 11, 2010
Air China announced a deal to buy four airliners from Boeing on Friday, citing a list price of 1.15 billion dollars but saying it received "significant price concessions" on the transaction. The flag-carrier did not name the actual price it would pay for the planes, but said it enjoyed a similar discount in another deal with Boeing last month. In a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchan ... read more

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