Chinese carriers to be the next savior of Airbus's A380 program

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Paris - Chinese airline operators can save the future of Airbus's A380 problematic program by placing volume orders in the coming years.

So far, Airbus A380 couldn't generate the expected sales in China. China Southern Airlines is the only Chinese airline to operate Airbus's superjumbo. The carrier has five Airbus A380 in its fleet.

But this may change soon. Last week on Friday, French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and Chinese vice-premier Hu Chunhua met in Paris to improve economic relations between two countries. One of the items at the meeting was to strengthen cooperation in the civil aviation field.

According to the rumors, Paris will increase the presence of Airbus at the production level in China while Beijing ensures that the Chinese carriers place more orders for the Airbus A330, A350, and A380.

Last year in September, Airbus stated that Chinese companies would order 60 Airbus A380 within a few years. And this year, in January, French President Emmanuel Macron said that the A350 and A380 models of the European manufacturer would receive orders from Chinese carriers soon.

But these statements have not been followed by new orders until now.

The orders for the A380 started to become more involved in recent years. Rather than ordering the aircraft directly for the specific needs of the airlines, the purchases became mostly a part of the political or commercial compromises.

Airbus sold three Airbus A380 to Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways in exchange for supporting the ANA's takeover of the bankrupt A380 customer Skymark against American Delta.

Now, Airbus is preparing to sell the A380s to China in exchange for more industrial participation on the A380 program. The European aircraft manufacturer has already an A320 final assembly line and A330 completion centers in China.

Chinese airlines most probably wouldn't order the A380 If the decision were left to them. Because Chinese operators need help with yield, not volume. But such decisions are not always up to them, because aircraft orders are profoundly political in China.

It shouldn't be a surprise if a further A380 order would come from a state-owned airline.