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Air China to buy 20 A350-900 wide-body aircraft from Airbus

[BEIJING] Air China, China's flagship carrier, will buy 20 A350-900 jets from Airbus, both companies said, bolstering the European planemaker's order book for wide-body jets against Boeing amid Sino-US trade tensions.

Air China on Thursday said the order is worth US$6.54 billion, based on list prices, and that deliveries were scheduled from 2020 through 2022. It also said it has the right to swap five of the 20 jets for the larger A350-1000.

Airbus, in a statement to Reuters, confirmed the order was new. That means Air China's total order for the aircraft type now stands at 30 planes, helping Airbus narrow a deficit in wide-body orders against its US rival.

Boeing won a positive total of 61 wide-body orders in the first half of this year against Airbus' negative tally of 35 jets, meaning the European planemaker had more cancellations than orders in the period for twin-aisle aircraft.

Air China's latest order comes as the Chinese and US governments continue a year-long trade dispute which has disrupted global supply chains and rattled financial markets.

The recent US blacklisting of Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei Technologies prompted speculation of retaliation against American firms. China said it would not discriminate against foreign companies.