China Southern Airlines (ZNH) has signed a deal with Airbus to buy 96 A320neo aircraft, just weeks after reportedly changing plans for deliveries of Boeing aircraft.  

The 96 aircraft, with a list price of over $12 billion, will be delivered between 2024 and 2027, the airline said in a stock exchange announcement on July 1, 2022. 

As is usual in industry negotiations, China Southern said it was paying less than list prices and that it had used the current environment to aim for better purchase conditions. The aircraft will boost its capacity by about 13%, China Southern estimated.  

The Airbus order comes after a Bloomberg report on May 18, 2022, that China Southern had removed over 100 Boeing 737 MAX deliveries from its near-term delivery schedules running up to 2024. 

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China Southern Airlines drops more than 100 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft from its near-term delivery plan.
 

The Boeing 737 MAX is still not cleared to fly in China after having been grounded in mid-March 2019 following the two fatal Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes that resulted in a total of 346 fatalities. 

According to Cirium data, China Southern has a fleet of 717 aircraft in service, on order or in storage, including 39 A320neos and 54 A321neos.