By Lei Yan
Air China received three new Airbus aircraft at the end of 2021
On December 31, 2021, Air China recovered one Airbus A320neo and one Airbus A321neo from Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France. The day before, the Chinese national carrier received a brand new Airbus A350 from the manufacturer’s plant in Tianjin, China. Air China has set itself the ambitious goal of receiving 55 jets by 2021, however, even with the 3 additions, the airline still fell short of the target.
The two Airbus A320neo series aircraft will be based at Air China’s hub in Chengdu, China. In June 2021, the city opened its second mega-airport, Chengdu Tianfu International Airport, to meet the ever-increasing demand for travel in and out of the region.
The newly delivered A350 will be based at Air China’s Beijing hub. This A350 is the third of its kind to be delivered from Airbus facilities in Tianjin, China. In July 2021, Airbus officially inaugurated its A350 finishing center in Tianjin and delivered its first A350 to China Eastern.
Air China did not meet its 2021 delivery target of 15 jets. In its financial reports, Air China outlined a plan to deliver 55 new aircraft in 2021. In addition to the 23 jets delivered in the first half of 2021, Air China planned to add 32 jets to its fleet. The plan was outlined in the carrier’s mid-year report and its third-quarter performance announcement, however, only 17 of the 32 jets were received by Air China, based on initial statistics from the airline’s import dossier. airline company.
Previously, in October and November 2021, Air China received three Airbus A320neo, three Airbus A321neo and one COMAC ARJ21-700. Boeing has long been absent from Air China’s delivery records. Tough Air China Group still holds a massive inventory of Boeing 737Max orders. The plane has just completed its 45-month shutdown in China. The 737Max on the ground in China are being unsealed and will hopefully help the rush to travel near the Spring Festival.
The reason for the missed target has been largely attributed to China’s underperforming domestic markets in 2H 2021 due to Covid-19. The zero tolerance policy against the virus restricts travel from cities that have had localized cases. International travel is still kept at an extremely low level, as new variants of Covid-19 skyrocket around the world.
Airbus also delivered two A350s at the end of 2021 to China Southern, a long-time competitor of Air China. China Southern’s two new jets will be based in Shenzhen, one of Air China’s strategic hubs.
In the previous report, Air China planned to receive 34 jets in 2022, excluding any Boeing 737Max. With the re-issuance of the 737Max with airworthiness certification in China, the number is expected to be well over 34. The additional capacity will come conveniently as China is also slowly lifting travel restrictions.
Aircraft manufacturers tend to speed up aircraft deliveries at the end of the year to improve their results. Airbus has met its target of delivering 600 jets in 2021. The automaker initially set its target at 566 jets and reduced its target in mid-2021 based on the optimistic outlook for the aviation industry to recover. Airbus is increasing the production capacity of its famous A320neo family from 60 per month to 65 per month, or even up to 75 per month. The industry will fuel rapid growth in the years to come.