Airbus says 27 Chinese A330 orders in limbo amid carbon-tax spat

BLOOMBERG - Airbus SAS said 27 orders from China for A330 wide-body jetliners remain in limbo after the government there froze the contracts as part of a campaign against a European Union proposal to tax carbon emissions.

While approval was given to 18 of 45 suspended A330 orders in April, the rest are on hold and may remain so until a global solution to the emissions spat is found, Airbus China President Eric Chen said in an interview at the Paris Air Show.

Airbus is now producing 10 twin-engine A330s a month, and has said it might consider moving to 11 if China proceeds with all of its orders. The International Air Transport Association, whose members control 85 per cent of traffic, this month called for a unified emissions-regulation system to be adopted by governments via the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

"We continue working with the Chinese central authorities to get the rest of the orders released," Mr Chen said. "Discussions are ongoing under ICAO toward finding a final solution acceptable to all parties. I'm quite optimistic on the outcome."

Under the Chinese system for ordering aircraft, planes are purchased centrally and assigned to individual carriers.

Two calls to the Civil Aviation Administration of China went unanswered and the regulator did not immediately reply to an e-mailed request for comment.