Shanghai-based carrier China Eastern Airlines expects to take delivery of 16 A330s worth $2.6 billion between 2011 and 2014 and will pay for them through bank loans.
The A330s will be operated mainly on routes to Europe, the US and Australia.
It is very probable the airline intends to expand its long-haul offerings as the domestic market becomes increasingly affected by the growing high-speed rail network. It has already canceled some domestic routes.
Adding to the mix is last month’s approval of CEA’s merger with Shanghai Airlines by the China Securities Regulatory Commission.
ATW Online reports the 16 A330s are part of an order for 50 agreed between the Chinese government and Airbus in 2007.