Chinese carrier Xiamen Airlines will renew and grow its fleet with forty Airbus A320neo family aircraft. The order is significant in that Xiamen has been a Boeing-only operator so far and has orders for the MAX 8.
The news was announced on 22 September by its parent airline, China Southern Airlines. The news comes as the domestic air travel market continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Xiamen will take delivery of the A320neo aircraft between 2024 and 2027. The order would be valued at $4.8 billion based on list prices of between $105 and $136 million per aircraft.
As for the reason for the order, China Southern says that it “will help Xiamen Airlines ensure the safety of its strategic development, continue to promote the structural adjustment of its fleet, maintain a steady speed of introduction of A320neo family aircraft."
Xiamen Airlines currently has a short- and medium-haul fleet of nine Boeing 737-700s and 131 737-800s. It has also taken delivery of ten MAX 8s between June 2018 and March 2019 through CSA Leasing, the leasing branch of China Southern.
These aircraft have been in storage since the MAX was grounded in March 2019. Chinese airlines are still awaiting the final approval to resume MAX operations. Xiamen is believed to have done a demonstration flight with one of its MAX 8s in recent months.
Boeing has another 25 MAX 8s currently in inventory for Xiamen, but if the airline still wants them is not confirmed.