China’s Xiamen Airlines has placed a firm order for 40 Airbus A320neo-family jets, the carrier’s parent company, China Southern Airlines, reported in a filing with the Shanghai Stock Exchange on Thursday. The filing valued the transaction at $4.848 billion and noted that the airline won price concessions comparable to those it had negotiated in past deals.
The contract follows a broader deal involving four Chinese airlines announced July 1 that included a China Southern order for 96 A320neo-family aircraft worth $12.25 billion. Delivery schedules call for the first 30 airplanes from that order to go to China Southern in 2024, then 40 in 2025, 19 in 2026, and seven in 2027. The most recent filing said only that deliveries of the 40-aircraft order for Xiamen will take place in stages from 2024 to 2027.
The deal comes as another blow for Boeing and its 737 Max, 24 of which China Southern operated and 10 of which Xiamen flew before the model’s grounding in March 2019 following two fatal accidents involving Max 8s. Nearly every relevant global civil aviation authority has allowed the Max to return to service apart from China’s, which continues to evaluate data from test flights.
China’s CAA became the first to ground the Max following the twin crashes that claimed the lives of 346 people. The CAAC issued an airworthiness directive (AD) that would have ostensibly allowed operators in that country to return the airplane to service soon. However, some nine months later, the Max remains grounded in the country against a backdrop of strained diplomatic relations between the U.S. and the People's Republic.