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China Southern Airlines signs contract to buy 50 planes from Airbus


BEIJING (XFNews-ASIA) - China Southern Airlines Co Ltd (SHA 600029; HK 1055; ADR ZNH), the country's largest carrier by fleet size, said it has signed a contract to buy 50 A320 aircraft from Airbus.

China Southern said the deal has a catalog value of 3.316 bln usd, but added that it was able to get a "lower than catalogue price," without providing further details.

The planes will be delivered in 2009-2010, it said in a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

The company said the purchase would be entirely financed by commercial bank loans.

In March, the carrier announced its intentions to buy more than 30 aircraft this year, and expand its fleet to no less than 300 jets, from the current 268, with most of aircraft to be large jets.

The mainland's flag carrier, Air China Ltd, said last month it would acquire 24 Airbus 320-series aircraft for 1.74 bln usd, for delivery between 2007 and 2010.

The A320, a medium-range, single-aisle twin-engine jet capable of carrying up to about 180 passengers, remains the European company's most popular aircraft after 17 years on the market.

It is in direct competition with Boeing's 737 model.

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