China Eastern Airlines Airbus A330

China Eastern to buy 15 Airbus jets for $3.6 billion

China Eastern Airbus A319

China Eastern plans to acquire 15 Airbus jets for about $3.6 billion to meet booming demand for air travel.

Airbus is scheduled to deliver seven A330s in 2017 and a further eight in 2018, China Eastern Airlines Corp said in a statement to the Shanghai stock exchange.

“The company is purchasing 15 Airbus A330 planes to help to replace older planes that will retire over the next few years. It will also help to meet rising passenger demand for mid and long routes,” China Eastern said.

China will be the world’s largest air passenger market by 2034, according to the International Air Transport Association, attracting interest from foreign airlines.

Delta Air Lines Inc is poised to become the first U.S. carrier to own part of a Chinese peer, announcing plans last month to buy a 3.55 percent stake in China Eastern for $450 million and gaining an “observer” seat on its board.

In a separate statement on Friday, China Eastern reported first-half net profit up sharply to 3.56 billion yuan ($557 million) from only 15 million yuan a year earlier, citing lower fuel prices and strong travel demand.

China Eastern to buy 15 Airbus jets for $3.6 billion

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