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Countdown to the Singapore Air Show – Boeing and Airbus orders preview

  • Several airlines planning fresh orders next week in Singapore: Lion Air, Garuda Indonesia, Paramount Airlines and possibly Malaysia Airlines and Etihad Airways;
  • Strong economic conditions in Asia and rising liberalisation could maintain orders momentum;
  • Countering this - many major carriers have already placed significant orders in recent years;
  • Indian and Middle East carriers unlikely to feature in Singapore as in previous years;
  • Singapore Air Show runs from 19-24 February 2008.

There must be a big air show looming – Airbus has re-released its 20-year sales forecast to garner some headlines, while Boeing has been quoted in some reports as preparing to unveil orders in Singapore for approximately 100 aircraft worth up to USD8 billion from Southeast Asian carriers.

However, the timing of the announcement of new aircraft orders by Boeing is purely driven by the customer involved - not the manufacturer. As Boeing has noted, "Indeed, our policy is not to save up orders for air shows, yet we're always pleased when our customers choose to make such announcements !"

But several airlines are on the record as saying they will be making fresh orders next week in Singapore:

  • Lion Air: The Indonesian (and soon to be Australian and Thai) carrier is planning to add to its remarkable tally of 122 B737-900ERs;
  • Garuda Indonesia: Plans to order up to ten B777-200ERs, on top of an existing order for ten B787s for delivery from 2012 and 50 B737-800s already delivering this year under a leasing agreement. (Airline officials stated these orders were “no way connected” with recent Indonesian Government suggestions to avoid the purchase of Airbus aircraft, as a response to the continuing "blacklisting" of Indonesian aircraft over European airspace);
  • Paramount Airlines: Indian regional carrier plans to order up to ten widebody aircraft to launch international services from 2011/12;
  • Malaysia Airlines: Could unveil a significant narrowbody aircraft order to replace its ageing fleet of B737-400s.

Economic conditions in China, India and the Southeast Asian economies remain strong, which, combined with rising liberalisation, could maintain the aircraft orders momentum in this region.

Countering this is the fact that many of the region’s major carriers, including the fast-growing LCCs, have already ordered significant numbers of aircraft in recent years.

India’s carriers, swamped by excess capacity, are not expected to have the same impact as at previous Singapore Air Shows. Meanwhile, many of the Middle East carriers unveiled large orders at the Dubai Air Show just last November. Etihad Airways could however surprise with a fresh narrowbody and widebody aircraft order.

The intermediate twin aisle segment will again be a key battleground, with Airbus hopeful of more endorsements of its A350XWB programme, while Boeing will be seeking more orders for its B787 programme, despite the nine-month delays to initial deliveries.

The Singapore Air Show runs from 19-24 February 2008.

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