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Airbus secures $1.5bn China deal

'Hugely important'

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In brief Airbus has signed a $1.5bn deal to supply 10 Airbus A330s to China Southern Airlines. The aircraft will be delivered during 2006-7.

Tony Blair took time out from a visit to the country on EU business to witness the accord, accompanied by his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao.

British Airbus General manager Iain Gray enthused: "It is a hugely important deal for Airbus in what is a very important market. It builds on the success we've had in recent years."

It is indeed an important deal for Airbus, since Boeing has just agreed to supply 42 of its new 787 Dreamliner to four Chinese Airlines - Air China, China Eastern Airlines, Shanghai Airlines and Xiamen Airlines, for a total of £2.8bn ($5bn). The 787 goes into production next year, and will hit Chinese runways in 2008. ®

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