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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

China Freezes Aircraft Orders

BEIJING -- China said Monday that its airlines, hurt by slumping growth in traffic, will freeze the size of their fleets for two years and postpone deliveries of new planes.

The announcement is a setback for aircraft makers that looked to China's booming travel industry for growth as sales in other markets flatten. Airbus Industrie of Europe said its sales in China will fall by about 17 percent this year.

Airlines will take delivery of 43 planes this year, but retire more than 40 older aircraft in an attempt to cut overcapacity, the China Daily reported. A Chinese aviation official was quoted by Dow Jones Newswires as saying that airlines had been told not to buy or lease aircraft next year or in 2001.

Though robust by Asian standards, passenger traffic growth of 6.3 percent last year was down dramatically from 30 percent growth rates seen in previous years, according to the China Daily.

Airbus and its U.S. rival, Boeing, have wooed buyers in China eagerly.