Malaysia Airlines and Virgin Blue confirm major aircraft orders

Malaysia Airlines has ordered up to 25 A330-300 aircraft, with firm orders for 15 of the type and options for a further ten aircraft. The aircraft will be configured in a two class layout with 283 seats and will be deployed on services to Australia, China, South Asia, North Asia and the Middle East.

The carrier has also placed new orders for up to four A330-200 freighters comprising two firm orders and two options. Deliveries of the passenger aircraft will begin in 1H2011, with the first freighter joining the MASkargo fleet in Sep-2011. Malaysia Airlines CEO and Managing Director, Azmil Zahruddin, stated the carrier plans to fund the aircraft with capital raised from its recent rights issue and debt funding.

Virgin Blue orders up to 105 B737s, to “aggressively ensure market share is not eroded”

Virgin Blue Group today announced that it has formally signed an agreement with Boeing, for up to 105 new B737 aircraft. The agreement includes 50 firm B737-800NG aircraft (with flexibility to convert to either B737-700 or B737-900 equipment), 25 additional firm delivery positions secured as options and 30 future purchase rights. Delivery is scheduled from Jun-2011 through 2017 and will enable the carrier to “aggressively ensure market share is not eroded and to provide additional growth options at Virgin Blue’s discretion”. See related report: Virgin Blue declares war on the domestic market; global alliance in the wind?

China to reduce domestic aviation fuel prices 

In North Asia, the CAAC stated China's fuel price regulators will reduce the domestic aviation fuel ex-factory price by CNY10 (USD1.46) per ton to CNY5,200 (USD762) from 01-Apr-2010, following increases in Jan-2010 and Nov-2009. Shares in Air China and Hainan Airlines were up 1.8% and 0.5%, respectively, while shares in China Southern and China Eastern were weaker yesterday (slipping 0.3% and 1.0%, respectively). 

Numerous parties express interest in SpiceJet shares

In the Indian market, SpiceJet shareholders have reportedly received an increased offer (up from USD156 million to USD178 million) from Sun TV promoter, Kalanithi Maran, to acquire a 51% stake in the carrier. Mr Maran is also reportedly in talks with hedge fund owner, Wilbur L Ross, to acquire his 30% stake in the carrier. Financial services companies, Religare and Anil Ambani Group have also expressed interest in acquiring a stake in SpiceJet. 

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Asia Pacific selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 31-Mar-2010