French President Macron says contract with China for 184 A320s to be finalized soon

BEIJING (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron said a contract with China for 184 Airbus A320s would be finalized soon and that his country also had ambitions to sell A350 and A380 planes to China in coming weeks or months.

“On the order for 184 A320s, it’s something that will be finalized shortly,” Macron said during his state visit to China, adding it was confirmed to him by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“And we also have ambitions on A350 and A380 mid-range and large carriers in the weeks or months to come,” Macron said.

The French president also said China had assured him it would respect market-share parity between Airbus and Boeing.

French President Emmanuel Macron (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands during a press conference in Beijing, China, January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Ludovic Marin/Pool

China regularly splits large orders between Europe and the United States to cope with its fast-expanding airline traffic, but the momentum has recently been with rival Boeing, which sold 300 jets during a visit by U.S. President Donald Trump last year.

China, however, placed a large order for 140 Airbus jets during a visit to Germany by Xi last July.

French President Emmanuel Macron attends a news conference at the French Embassy in Beijing, China, January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

New orders for Airbus jetliners have historically featured during such visits by French leaders. However, none was announced during Macron’s visit, although sources familiar with the negotiations said there were talks about an order of 100 more or jets.

Airbus signed a provisional deal on Tuesday to boost the number of A320 family jets assembled in Tianjin to six a month by 2020 from four at present.

Airbus declined to comment on Wednesday.

Reporting by Michel Rose and Beijing Monitoring Desk; additional reporting by Jamie Freed in Singapore; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Stephen Coates

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