- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 3, 2001

Jet manufacturer Boeing Co. announced plans yesterday to sell 30 aircraft to Chinese airlines in a deal worth $1.6 billion.
Boeing and Chinese officials signed the deal at a ceremony in Washington with Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans. The purchase, which had been negotiated for months, was scheduled to be announced weeks ago, but was postponed because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The order for the 737 jetliners comes at a time when the domestic airline industry is faltering due to fallout from the attacks. Boeing announced two weeks ago it will lay off up to 30,000 workers in its commercial aircraft sector because of lost business, and says the order is unlikely to change that.
Still, Mr. Evans hailed the deal as "part of what America needs now."
"It is part of what the world economy needs now," he said.
Zhang Gubao, vice chairman of China's State Development Planning Commission, said he came to the United States in part to show solidarity in the wake of the attacks.
"We will never forget our friends, particularly in times of difficulties," he said. "It is our hope that this purchase will strengthen ties between the two countries."
Boeing said China Southern Airlines is buying 20 737-800s, China Eastern Airlines is buying four 737-700s, Hainan Airlines is buying three 737-800s and Shanghai Airlines is buying two 737-800s and one 737-700.
The single-aisle jets, to be delivered between 2002 and 2005, will replace older jets on domestic routes.
Boeing made its first sale to China in 1972 when the country ordered 10 707s after President Nixon's visit. Chinese airlines currently operate 357 Boeing jetliners.
Boeing forecasts China will need 1,764 commercial jets worth $144 billion over the next 20 years.

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