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AEROSPACE
China to expand aircraft fleet amid soaring demand
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) March 8, 2010


China's airlines plan to buy 218 planes this year to help meet an expected surge in demand for air travel in the coming years, state media reported Monday.

Airline traffic in China is expected to exceed 700 million passengers a year by 2020 and then double that figure by 2030, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

Passenger numbers are expected to rise 13 percent to 260 million this year, while cargo volume will grow 12 percent to 4.98 million tonnes, according to official forecasts.

The new orders for jumbo jets and regional aircraft will boost China's fleet to more than 1,500, according to official figures.

Further details were not provided and no CAAC representatives were immediately available for comment.

Air China, the nation's flagship carrier, said last month it had agreed to buy 20 Airbus A320 planes.

The combined catalogue price for the aircraft is 1.6 billion dollars, but the company was granted "significant price concessions", it said.

China Southern Airlines, the nation's biggest carrier by fleet size, announced in January that it would buy 20 Airbus A320 jets, at a price that would be significantly lower than the list price of about 1.5 billion dollars.

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