Beijing - On February 9, Airbus and Sichuan Airlines reached an agreement for ten A350-900s to expand the Chinese airline's long-haul network.
The contract is valued at 20 billion yuan ($3.6 billion) and represents the largest order signed by Sichuan Airline so far, according to CAAC News, an affiliate of the Chinese Civil Aviation Authority (CAAC). The agreement was confirmed by Airbus to Reuters, but it wasn't specified whether the contract signed on Feb. 9 in Chengdu was a memorandum of understanding or a firm order.
According to CAAC News, Sichuan Airlines currently operates the largest "all Airbus" fleet in China, consisting of 132 aircraft flying on 270 routes. Based at Chengdu-Shuangliu Airport, the company has opened several international routes to Vancouver, Melbourne, Sydney, Moscow, Dubai, Prague, Los Angeles and Auckland. In 2018, the airline plans to add Cairo, Tel Aviv, Copenhagen, Boston, and Zurich to its network.
The A350-900s will enhance Sichuan Airlines' competitiveness, particularly on long-haul routes, and help it implement its development strategy in the international market,reports CAAC News.
Sichuan Airlines has already ordered four leased A350-900s, three from AerCap and one from Air Lease Corporation (ALC). The planes have not been delivered yet.