BEIJING -- China plans to tell its troubled state-owned airlines to delay new aircraft purchases because of a travel slowdown amid economic turmoil, a news report said Friday, a move that could hurt U.S. and European aircraft makers.
Regulators also might put a moratorium on new purchases, Hong Kong's
South China Morning Post
newspaper said, citing Hu Bin, general manager of Xiamen Airlines, a mainland carrier.
A spokeswoman for the Chinese aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Administration of China, said she could not confirm the report. She refused to give her name.
A cutback in Chinese purchases could hurt global aircraft suppliers
, which are looking to China's booming travel market to help drive future sales.
Chinese carriers have been squeezed by high oil prices and falling passenger and cargo revenues. State-owned airlines had total losses of about 4.2 billion yuan ($615 million) in the first 10 months of this year, according to the government.
Regulators are expected decide on changing delivery schedules at a meeting early next month, Hu said.
Two of China's three major carriers have turned to the government for financial aid.
China Southern Airlines
said this week it will receive a 3 billion yuan ($440 million) capital injection from the government, and
China Eastern Airlines
said it's seeking similar help.
In the most recent major aircraft order, the third carrier,
, said in July it was buying 45 Boeing jetliners, one of China's biggest purchases to date. The list price for the aircraft is $6.3 billion but Air China said its final price would be lower.