China will be the biggest single market for the A380 aircraft, Airbus SAS' super jumbo, the European aircraft manufacturer's chief said on Friday.
Airbus forecast that China will need more than 200 aircraft with 500 or more seats in the next 20 years, and the A380 is the main aircraft in this category, said Fabrice Bregier, president and CEO of Airbus.
"For A380 market growth, we are chasing 5 percent per year at the world level and 10 percent in China," he added.
As Chinese air traffic develops, the nation's airlines will operate more international routes, which are suitable for the A380, he said.
The period between 2011 and 2015 is a golden age for China's civil aviation industry, said Li Jiaxiang, head of Civil Aviation Administration of China.
Passenger air traffic will reach 450 million person-trips and investment in civil aviation will exceed 1.5 trillion yuan ($243.15 billion) by the end of 2015, according to the administration.
The super jumbo's market in China is still in its infancy, with only five in the country, belonging to China Southern Airlines Co Ltd.
Hong Kong Airlines, a subsidiary of HNA Group, is reportedly considering changing its 10 A380 orders to smaller aircraft. The carrier plans to enlarge its fleet with A330 and A320 aircraft, as it is cautious about long-haul routes, the airline said earlier.
"It will be long term growth and we cannot expect our Chinese customers to move immediately in large numbers to the A380, " said Bregier.
A new aircraft program is aimed at the market for the next 30-year period, he said, and new aircraft usually lose money at first. The A380 program will be in profit from 2016 according to Airbus' plan.
"Industry cooperation between Airbus and Chinese aircraft manufacturers will continue increasing and it will be more than $500 million in 2016," he said.
Airbus also can expect more orders from China as the negative impact on Airbus' business in China from the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme is fading.
China Aviation Supply Holding Company signed an agreement with Airbus SAS for the purchase of 60 Airbus aircraft, which includes 42 A320 Family aircraft and 18 A330 aircraft on Thursday.
It is the second time that Airbus received large orders from China after the ETS issue and the A330 orders may include some orders, which were suspended after the ETS issue in 2012, business insiders said.
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