Airlines Haven't Put Deposits On Planes Yet
Just how many aircraft
did Airbus sell in 2005? And how many did the European consortium
actually receive deposits for?
At the heart of those questions is the mammoth $10 billion deal
Airbus announced during a visit by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to
France last December. As was reported by Aero-News,
Airbus reported China signed for 150 aircraft.
While it's true the "i"'s have been dotted on the deal, the
Chinese airlines poised to receive the jets say they haven't paid
any deposits on them yet.
"We have not made any down payment, as we still don't know how
many A320 jets we will get," said an Air China Ltd. official to
Reuters. The five other Chinese airlines involved reportedly made
For an airliner order to be consider "firm", a deposit must be
placed on the airframe. Airbus counted all 150 orders as firm when
determining its 2005 record sales total of 1,055 aircraft, beating
archrival Boeing by 53 planes.
An official with China Aviation Supplies Import and Export Group
-- which represented the government in the purchase deal --
declined to comment on the matter, saying it was up to the
individual airlines to handle their own financial affairs.
The airlines told Reuters that's true -- but that after the
government decides how many aircraft each airline is to receive,
each negotiates its own terms with the manufacturer. Such was the
case in a similar deal Boeing reached with the Chinese last
Airbus maintains they've received deposits on all 150 planes...
presumably, from the Chinese government directly.
"All the conditions which we usually set before reporting firm
orders have been met. These include government approval and payment
of deposits," an Airbus spokseman said.
If for some reason the 150 planes are not counted, that would
mean Boeing actually beat Airbus, after all, for the 2005 sales
crown. That's not expected to happen... but then again, on January 16 the money was on Boeing to beat
Airbus for 2005, too.
As always, stay tuned.