Thomas Enderrs in Airbus got an order of 184 jets from China(Photo: Airbus)

BEIJING (AP) — China plans to buy 184 Airbus A320 jetliners, French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday, in a diplomatic tradition aimed at defusing trade complaints. Chinese President Xi Jinping said his government «will preserve parity» in market share between Airbus and its U.S. rival, Boeing, said Macron at a news conference. CEO Thomas Endes is planning to retire in 2019, writes Bloomberg.

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks at a press conference at the French Embassy in Beijing, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018.

China often times announcements of purchases of aircraft and other big-ticket items to coincide with visits by foreign leaders in an effort to defuse trade tensions. Macron said details have yet to be completed and he gave no financial figures. At the list price for A320s, the order could total $18 billion, but large buyers often get deep discounts.»China will preserve its volume of purchases in the future and will preserve parity in market share between Airbus and Boeing,» Macron said.

Chief Executive Tom Enders is planning on stepping down at the end of his term in 2019, according to a report from Bloomberg on Thursday.

A spokeswoman for the European airplane maker, which is Chicago-based Boeing’s main rival, told CNBC «no decision has been made.»

The change in leadership would occur as the company is grappling with corruption investigations in Europe and has warned of potential fines as the result of its use of middlemen in airplane sales. In October, it also disclosed that it had uncovered inaccuracies in reports of U.S. arms technology sales.

Enders is part of a high-level shake-up of Airbus executives. Reuters reported Thursday that Airbus’ plane-making chief and Chief Operating Officer Fabrice Bregier will step down in February.

Airbus looked outside the company to replace a high-profile executive earlier this year, poaching Rolls-Royce’s civil engines division chief, Eric Schulz, to replace John Leahy, the company’s sales chief, after his retirement.

En ny Airbus 380 flyr over Toulouse i Frankrike( Foto: Associated Press)

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