Singapore Air confirms to buy 9 Airbus A380s; option for six more


Singapore (XFNews-ASIA) - Singapore Airlines confirmed it will buy nine A380 jumbo aircraft from Airbus that it had previously ordered.

The nine are part of nineteen A380's that it ordered from Airbus in July this year, but which have been held up because of technical problems with the aircraft.

Singapore Air also said it has signed an option to buy six more of the aircraft, despite the delays in delivery of the initial batch. The first of the A380s is due to be delivered in October 2007.

In addition to the A380 orders, SIA said it will also lease nineteen A330-300 aircraft from Airbus.

SIA chief executive Chew Choon Seng said the leasing deal is an interim solution to cover its requirements, prior to completion of deliveries of the A380s . The lease duration will be flexible, depending on market demand, he said.

"The certification programme (of the A380s) has been very successful with sound engineering behind the airplanes, and I think it would be great if Airbus use all this (extra) time to make sure that (the A380s) enter commercial service in 2007 as one of the most thoroughly, if not the most thoroughly inspected aircraft," Chew said.

Airbus chief executive Louis Gallois meanwhile said the company is "fully committed" to meet the rescheduled plan for the delivery of its A380s to SIA.

"We can't exclude (the possibility of further delays) but we are doing what we can to prevent that," Gallois said.

He added that he now expects more orders for its A380 aircraft from existing customers but declined to estimate a figure.

Chew said SIA has also "reached settlement with Airbus on issues relating to delays on deliveries of the A380", but he declined to reveal the terms.

Separately, SIA unit SilkAir said it will buy up to 20 A320 planes from Airbus for 1.33 bln usd.

SilkAir said the new aircraft order will allow it to increase its frequency on existing routes, and commence services to new destinations in the region when there is sufficient demand.

"We see multiple opportunities... with deregulation and liberalization in the region. In addition, we are seeing more travel to Singapore," SilkAir chief executive Mike Barclay said.

He added that Singapore's ambitious plan to develop two integrated casino/resorts here will create more travelling demand from the region, which SilkAir wants to be in a position to meet.

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