Airbus aims to have more than half the lucrative Chinese aviation market by the end of 2015, a senior executive said Wednesday, as the European giant seeks to close in on rival Boeing.
The European plane maker currently holds 46 percent of the booming Chinese sector — a smaller share than Boeing — but senior vice president Eric Chen said it was on target to overtake its American competitor.
“If you look at the number of firm orders for planes, I am more than confident we will soon reach more than 50 percent, it’s our target… before the end of 2015,” Chen told AFP at the China International Aviation Expo.
China recorded 267 million air passenger trips in 2010, up 15.8 percent from the previous year.
According to figures published by the state-owned aeronautics giant China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC) Wednesday, Chinese airlines will add 4,583 passenger aircraft to their fleets by 2030 — a boon for planemakers worldwide.
The number of air passengers in China has grown on average 15.3 percent annually over the past decade — around three times the world average for the same period, it said.
Airbus is in direct competition with Seattle-based Boeing, which announced two weeks ago it would look to maintain its current 51 to 52 percent share of the Chinese market.
However, the China-made C919 jet — expected to come into service in 2016 — is set to provide extra competition for Boeing and Airbus in the medium-range sector, which represents 70 percent of the market.
Meanwhile, Chen said the delivery of Airbus’ first A380 to a Chinese airline — China Southern Airlines — would take place on October 15.
According to the Oriental Morning Post paper, the jumbo jet will make its inaugural commercial flight in China between Beijing and Guangzhou in the south on October 17, and will go between Beijing and Shanghai from October 27 to 29.
It will then be used on an unspecified international route.
Chen also pointed to another long-haul plane — the A330. He said Airbus had already sold around 120 of these in China, and “before the end of 2015, we hope to sell up to 200 A330s, it’s our target.”