China to buy 88 A320 planes: Airbus

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European aircraft manufacturer Airbus said Tuesday that China signed an order for 88 of its A320 aircraft during a visit to Germany by Premier Wen Jiabao.

A company spokesman put the value of the deal at nearly $7.5 billion.

The number of planes ordered, which Airbus released in a statement, was higher than that given by the German government which earlier announced the purchase of 62 of the single-aisle planes.

The order, one of a raft of deals worth more than $15 billion signed during the visit, was inked by Airbus chief Tom Enders, China Aviation Supplies head Li Hai and Li Xiaopeng, Industrial and Commerce Bank of China Leasing chairman.

Although it announced the figure of 62 at the signing ceremony, a spokeswoman for the German government said the number had been the basis of negotiations ahead of the meeting but was not "final."

Airbus said that at the end of May that 13 Chinese airlines were operating some 575 A320 aircraft.

© 2011 AFP

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