France Reveals Airbus A380 Sale To China

January 21, 2005

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Airbus will next week announce the sale of five A380 superjumbo planes to China Southern, the French transport ministry said on Friday.

The deal between Airbus, China Southern and Chinese aviation supplies organization CASC will be signed on January 28.

The news was disclosed, apparently accidentally, in a weekly diary released by the office of Transport Minister Gilles de Robien, including a reference to the planned signing ceremony.

Industry officials confirmed the deal with China Southern, which brings the number of orders or commitments for the world's largest civil plane to 154, following a commitment for 10 planes from US parcel service UPS in early January.

Airbus declined comment, however, saying it did not comment on aircraft sales before its customers made an announcement.

Aerospace watchers have been waiting for weeks for details of a deal with China after Airbus predicted the double-decker A380 jetliner would be sold to a Chinese airline soon and that China would also be using the planes for the 2008 Olympics.

The A380 was officially inaugurated earlier this week and is due to enter service in 2006.