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China expected to remain Airbus’s largest single-country market: CEO

China is expected to remain the biggest single-country market of Airbus in 2020, as the European planemaker said it plans to deliver about 100 aircraft to China this year.

Affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Airbus delivered only 14 aircraft to China in the first half of this year, according to George Xu, CEO of Airbus China. The company’s original plan included delivery of some 160 planes to the country in 2020.

China has taken the lead in emerging from the impact of the pandemic, with its civil aviation industry witnessing a gradual and accelerated recovery. Statistics from Airbus show that at the end of August, the number of domestic passengers and flights recovered to about 80 percent and 90 percent respectively compared to the same period last year.

China has been a major market of Airbus, accounting for more than 20 percent of the company’s total aircraft delivery. Thanks to the country’s progress in taking on the epidemic and the recovery of its civil aviation market, Airbus has seen its China delivery rise since July, Xu said.

Spring Airlines, China’s largest budget carrier, received its first Airbus A321neo jetliner Friday in north China’s Tianjin Municipality.

“It may take three to five years for the global aviation industry to recover fully,” Xu said, noting that the Chinese market will become more prominent for Airbus in the post-pandemic era.

Xu also noted that Airbus remains bullish on the Chinese market as China has introduced various policies to ease restrictions and market access for foreign investors in recent years.

“Airbus values China’s huge market, as well as its sci-tech strength in AI and big data industries,” he said. 

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