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Airbus orders will depend on commercial needs: China Eastern Airlines

(Xinhua)

09:35, March 13, 2012

BEIJING, March 12 (Xinhua) -- Luo Yueping, board secretary of China Eastern Airlines, recently said the company's commercial needs will determine whether it will continue to purchase Airbus jets.

"That depends. The decisions are business-oriented," Luo said in an interview with China National Radio.

When asked whether the corporation will freeze or cancel its current orders for Airbus jets following media reports that China has blocked purchases of Airbus jets in response to a controversial European carbon tax, Luo took a vague tone.

"We did not say that we will break the contract, nor did we say we will not carry out the orders," he said.

His remarks came after the head of Airbus's parent company EADS said earlier that China had blocked purchases of Airbus planes worth 12 billion U.S. dollars in retaliation against the European carbon tax, which imposes charges on carbon emissions from international flights into and out of Europe.

The unilateral move triggered immediate criticism from several countries, including Russia and China.

China's air regulator announced on Feb. 6 that it has banned its airlines from complying with the tax scheme.

Liu Shaoyong, chairman of China Eastern Airlines, said the Chinese government asked the company to refrain from making contact with European officials who are involved in the taxation plan.

The move underscores growing tensions surrounding the tax scheme, which many fear will prompt a "trade war" if other countries come up with retaliative policies.

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