Airbus secures US$15b deals amid Asia boom
LONDON: Airbus SAS booked sales valued at more than US$15 billion (RM48.2 billion) on a single day from Asia, underscoring the region's role in driving global demand for commercial jets.
Chinese start-up carriers Qingdao Airlines and Zhejiang Loong Airlines joined BOC Aviation and a Vietnamese operator in committing to take a combined 160 planes, the Toulouse-based planemaker said on Wednesday. The memorandum of understanding from six-year-old VietJetAir was for as many as 92 A320 aircraft.
Asian growth is lifting orders at Airbus and rival Boeing Co, with China set to supplant the United States as the largest market by 2032, Airbus said on Tuesday in its annual forecast spanning two decades.
Airbus yesterday unveiled a lighter version of its A330 wide-body jet aimed particularly at markets such as China, which is already the biggest buyer of the aircraft.
"The Chinese market will be the biggest one in the next 20 years, and we'll continue to lead there," said Airbus chief executive officer Fabrice Bregier in Beijing on Wednesday.
Yesterday's deals, once confirmed, will bring Airbus beyond the 1,000 aircraft orders the company has predicted it can garner this year. In the first eight months, Airbus had already secured 942 firm orders, with Lion Air Inc's purchase of 234 jets this year. The accord with Vietjet includes 42 re-engined A320neos, 14 current-model A320s, six A321, and another 30 purchase rights.
Qingdao Airlines, a newly established private carrier in China, agreed to buy 23 A320s, a mix of five current models and 18 re-engined Neos, in a deal valued at US$2.3 billion. Zhejiang Loong Airlines, recently approved by the regulator, signed an agreement for 11 A320s and nine Neos valued at US$1.9 billion. The orders are all subject to government approval.
Lessor BOC Aviation, owned by Bank of China, made a US$2.4 billion commitment with plans to take 13 A320s and 12 re-engined Neo narrow-bodies. Aircraft buyers typically get discounts on official prices. Bloomberg