Airbus just signed a massive aircraft deal with China

October 29, 2015, 5:09 PM UTC
Employees of aircraft manufacturer Airbus work on an Airbus A320 plane under construction at a production hall of Airbus in Hamburg, northern Germany. A new Airbus factory has been unveiled in Alabama, setting itself up for a fierce fight with Chicago-based Boeing.
Photograph by Johannes Eisele—AFP/Getty Images

China has agreed to buy 130 planes from Airbus in a deal worth $17 billion. The new agreement gives Airbus a leg up in its battle against Boeing to claim a share of the fast-growing Chinese market, which is expected to become the largest for air travel in the world in the coming decades.

The deal was signed during a meeting between Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Bloomberg reports. It will bring 30 twin-aisle Airbus planes to China, as well as 100 single-aisle aircraft. China had already ordered 45 of the twin-aisle planes back in June. Boeing, for its part, is sending 300 jets to Chinese carriers as part of a deal struck in September.

According to Boeing, China will require an additional 6,330 new planes over the next 20 years. The rapid expansion is worth nearly a trillion dollars to aircraft manufacturers. By 2034, China will be the largest air travel market in the world.