Big aircraft orders lined up to land at Le Bourget: Paris Air Show 2011


Airbus has launched something of a pre-emptive ordering strike ahead of next week’s Paris Air Show. The European manufacturer has confirmed Cebu Pacific has signed an MoU for 30 A321neos and seven A320 options, just four days out from the start of the biannual industry show at Le Bourget.

See the full report: A321neo order supports further international expansion at Cebu Pacific

Airbus announced orders for just seven new aircraft in May-2011, producing speculation that it is saving a number of large orders for announcement at the air show this month.

Airbus is expecting to improve on the 255 orders taken at the 2010 Farnborough Airshow. The Cebu Pacific announcement is not the only cat to be let out of what could be a very big bag indeed for the manufacturer.

India’s GoAir has announced that it has signed an agreement for 72 A320neos, even though Airbus has not officially confirmed the order. This is another big win for Airbus’ A320neo programme, which is now sitting very comfortably above 430 orders and commitments. Airbus had planned to have more than 500 by the end of the Paris Air Show.

AirAsia has been the subject of much speculation regarding an A320neo order. The carrier is reportedly looking at up to 200 orders and commitments for the aircraft, although this may include conversions of some of the 86 current generation A320s it has on order.

See: Paris 2011: AirAsia eyes fleet of over 300 aircraft by 2020 with new A320neo

Qatar Airways has also been very interested in the A320neo, with the carrier being pegged as potentially ordering up to 50 aircraft. The carrier’s CEO, Akbar Al Baker, has announced the airline is interested in more A380s, to augment the five it has on order, and more A330s. The expectation is that Qatar Airways will place orders and commitments for another 10 to 20 A380s, potentially making it one of the largest A380s customers, although Emirates’ commitment for 90 A380s dwarfs that of all other operators.

Airbus won’t have everything its own way though, even if, as industry reports suggest, Boeing will be content to play the quieter part at Le Bourget.

Read the article: Boeing predicts USD4 trillion market through 2030, fleet to double

Hong Kong Airlines will formally sign an agreement for the purchase of 38 widebody aircraft, originally announced in Mar-2011, at Le Bourget. Hong Kong Airlines’ widebody purchase agreement includes 30 B787-900s, six B777Fs and two B787-8 VIP aircraft.

The carrier will also announce either a firm order or a Letter of Intent for A380 equipment at the airshow. The carrier is reportedly planning to order between three and six aircraft. Hong Kong Airlines will be the third new A380 customer this year following Skymark Airlines and Asiana Airlines.

See article: Hong Kong Airlines to order A380 at Paris Air Show

Air France-KLM may also announce details of its much anticipated widebody fleet replacement order. Despite political pressuring from the French National Assembly, the carrier has indicated its intention to split the order – potentially for 100 aircraft – between Airbus and Boeing.

The dark horse at Le Bourget will be Bombardier. The Canadian manufacturer ended a 16-month long CSeries order drought earlier this month, with Sweden's Braathens Aviation ordering 10 for its Malmo Aviation unit and then an unnamed but “established” airline ordering three more, with options for anther three.

Bombardier is in advanced talks with seven to 10 customers for CSeries orders, with negotiations getting down to LoI and pricing territory and Bombardier hoping to wrap some up for the air show. Whether these materialise into orders shall be revealed next week.

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