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China Eastern To Buy 20 Boeing 777s

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China Eastern Airlines said on Monday it has agreed to buy 20 new 777-300ER aircraft from Boeing, valued at USD$5.94 billion at list prices.

In a filing to the Hong Kong bourse, China Eastern said the aircraft were expected to be delivered between 2014 and 2018.

Boeing said on Friday that China Eastern Airlines had agreed to buy the 20 aircraft, pending Chinese government approval.

The Chinese carrier also said it would sell five Airbus A340-600 aircraft, with an unaudited book value of about CNY4.47 billion yuan (USD$708 million), to Boeing.

China Eastern said the A340-600 aircraft, which mainly serve long-haul international routes such as Shanghai-to-New York and Shanghai-to-Los Angeles, had high operational costs and relatively weak route competitiveness.

China Eastern said the purchase of the Boeing aircraft and disposal of the Airbus planes would lower its unit operation costs and optimize the fleet structure for long-haul routes.

China Eastern Airlines posted a 73.7 percent fall in net profit for the first quarter of 2012 to CNY266.5 million yuan.

(Reuters)