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Leasing companies stepped into centre stage on the second day of the 2014 Farnborough Airshow, with a flurry of high value orders.
Since the beginning of the airshow, eight aircraft lessors announced a wide range of orders, totalling more than 400 aircraft, valued at over USD35 billion at list prices.
In particular, lessors have jumped on the chance for early orders for Airbus’ new A330neo. 65 of the 105 firm orders and commitments for the aircraft, launched on 14-Jul-2014, came from leasing companies.
AirAsia X is reinforcing its leading position in the fast growing medium/long-haul low-cost segment with a commitment for 50 A330-900neo aircraft for delivery from 2018. AirAsia X emerged at the Farnborough Airshow on 15-Jul-2014 as the launch airline for the new type, joining three leasing companies which have also signed up as launch customers with commitments for 55 aircraft. It is the first long-haul low-cost airline to become a launch customer.
The new commitment from AirAsia X, once converted into a firm order, will grow the group’s fleet to up to 117 aircraft by the middle of next decade compared to 22 currently and only 12 at the beginning of 2013. Malaysia-based AirAsia X is already the largest group in the long-haul low-cost segment, which now consists of six carriers including four in Asia-Pacific. AirAsia X is accelerating growth as it opens new bases in Thailand and Indonesia.
The group, however, will have the flexibility to adjust growth by phasing out existing A330-300s as well as potentially cancelling some of its A330-300 and A350-900 orders. Ultimately the AirAsia X fleet will likely expand over the next 10 years to 90-100 aircraft, providing capacity growth of about 20% per annum with the possibility of even faster growth should market conditions warrant.
Airbus and Boeing typically grab the headlines at the big airshows, but regional aircraft manufacturers had a particularly strong first day at the bi-annual Farnborough Airshow.
The smaller aircraft manufacturers – Embraer, Bombardier, Sukhoi, ATR, COMAC and Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation – collectively announced firm and tentative orders for nearly 130 jets and turboprops, as well as options for another 120 aircraft.
With all orders and options included, the deals are valued at more than USD7.8 billion.
Boeing's 787 Dreamliner was billed as a "hub-buster", an aircraft that would open new routes and allow passengers to fly non-stop in thinner markets rather than transfer via a hub. With the 787 approaching three years of service, how have airlines used the aircraft? Looking at routes planned for the northern winter 2014/2015 schedule, 17% of 787 routes have been launched with the Dreamliner. The remaining 83% have had the 787 replace or supplement an existing aircraft.
The 787 has had a difficult entry into service, with airlines intending to launch routes with the 787 but having to use other aircraft types as an interim measure. If we include such known examples of routes launched with an interim aircraft and later switched – often mere days or weeks later – to the 787, the share of 787 routes opened with the Dreamliner increases to 20%.
Airbus has announced that following a decision by the Airbus Group board, it has launched the A330neo, claiming it will deliver a fuel consumption reduction of "14% per seat".
The decision ends more than 12 months of will they-won’t they speculation about the future of its widebody aircraft programme.
Airbus president and CEO Fabrice Brégier stated the A330neo is the “logical evolution” of the A330 family, providing an “optimal solution” for customers “looking to minimise their fuel and operating costs while offering best-in-class comfort to their passengers.”
Biman Bangladesh Airlines has significantly improved its position as it nears the finishing line in its long overdue fleet renewal programme. But the carrier continues to face several challenges and will need network and strategic adjustments if it is to complete a turnaround.
Biman added four 777s in 1Q2014, allowing it finally to phase out its ageing DC-10 fleet. The flag carrier plans to complete the renewal of its fleet in 2015 as it takes two new 737-800s, enabling the phase out of its ageing A310 fleet.
Biman is now looking at potentially leasing two more 777s in 2015, which would be used to launch services to New York. Sydney is also under consideration but network adjustments including the possible suspension of Frankfurt would be necessary. Biman will also need to leverage its improved product to boost yields and attract partners.