Oct 21, 2011
HONG KONG—The finance leasing arm of Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. has made 45 firm orders for China's first homegrown commercial jetliner, bringing total orders for the C919
jets to 145, an ICBC executive said Thursday.
James Lin, executive director at ICBC Financial Leasing Co., said the company signed the agreement Wednesday with Commercial Aircraft Corp of China Ltd., the nation's state-owned commercial aircraft maker, to expand the number of jets in its fleet amid China's growing demand for domestic air travel.
"The large order reflects our confidence in China's aircraft making technology and for our business needs," said Mr. Lin, noting that ICBC Leasing is now the single biggest buyer for the C919. He declined to disclose the purchase costs for the planes.
The development of the single-aisle C919 underscores China's ambition to showcase its technological progress. It hopes the aircraft will compete with Boeing Co.'s 737 and the Airbus A320 when the C919 enters service in the latter part of this decade.
Mr. Lin said he expects the C919 will be delivered as early as in 2016, though no firm delivery schedules have been made. He said ICBC Leasing will lease those planes to potential customers in mainland China as well as in the Asia-Pacific region.
ICBC Financial Leasing, which now owns 70 passenger airplanes, in June ordered an additional 42 Airbus A320s. Airbus is a unit of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co.