China Southern Airlines signed with Airbus a purchase agreement today in Guangzhou for 4 A330-200s, becoming the first customer of the aircraft in the Chinese mainland. Deliveries of the aircraft, powered by Trent 700 engines of Rolls Royce, will start in 2005.

This is part of the General Terms Agreement signed on April 25 in Beijing. The China Aviation Supplies Imp. & Exp. Group Corporation (CASGC) signed the GTA with Airbus for a firm bulk order of 30 Airbus aircraft, to be operated by the China Southern Airlines and several other Chinese carriers.

"We will mainly put the A330-200s into operation on medium- and long-range routes, especially on new international routes that we plan to open. Our goal is to become an airline of prime choice by passengers," said Liu Mingqi, Vice President of the China Southern Airlines group. "Introduction of the aircraft will offer our passengers a safe and comfortable in-flight experience. And we will also benefit from A330's commonality with other members of the Airbus Family, which will help us reduce training and maintenance costs."

"The purchase agreement for the A330 marks a new milestone in our cooperation," said Nol Forgeard, Airbus President and Chief Executive Officer. "We are confident that the A330-200 will play an important role in the continued development of the airline and look forward to a long and fruitful partnership between our two companies."

With a range of up to 6,650 nm/12,300 km, the A330-200 combines some of the lowest operating costs of any aircraft ever designed with maximum flexibility over medium to long-haul routes. The A330-200 for the China Southern Airlines will comprise 276 seats.

The A330 is part of the market leading Airbus A330/A340 Family which has been especially successful in Asia-Pacific, where it has been selected by 20 airlines, including almost every major international carrier in the region. The A330/A340 Family has booked more than 800 orders from over 60 customers worldwide.

The largest airline in The Peoples Republic of China for the past 24 years, China Southern Airlines connects more than 80 cities around the globe with more than 300 routes. It has over 120 large modern aircraft, including 20 A320s.

A leading aircraft manufacturer with the most modern and comprehensive product line on the market, Airbus is a global company with design and manufacturing facilities in France, Germany, the UK, and Spain as well as subsidiaries in the U.S., China and Japan. Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE SYSTEMS.