HONG KONG — China’s three major state-owned airlines put off delivery of over 100 aircraft from Boeing and Airbus last year — but kept every single order from Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China, in a show of support for the domestic manufacturer during the coronavirus pandemic.
Their choice highlights COMAC’s strategic importance. But given the dominance of the American and European behemoths, the Chinese airlines are expected to fulfill most of their orders in the coming years, as recovery of their domestic aviation market is way ahead of the others.
The big three Chinese carriers — China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines and Air China — held off on a total of 58 planes from Boeing and 53 from Airbus in 2020, according to findings by Nikkei Asia.
Comparing the actual changes in each of their fleets with plans disclosed in their respective annual reports last…