Single-aisle jet orders take off at Farnborough show

20th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

Airlines and leasing groups agreed to buy single-aisle passenger jets worth billions of dollars here on Tuesday, emphasising the high demand for short- and medium-haul air travel.

Brazilian manufacturer Embraer announced deals to sell up to 160 of its regional jets worth almost a combined 6.0 billion dollars (4.7 billion euros), as the order race ramped up on the second day of the Farnborough International Airshow.

In a bid also to satisfy long-haul demand and robust growth of traffic in Asia, Hong Kong Airlines said it planned to buy 25 medium-sized Airbus planes together worth 5.7 billion dollars -- 15 of which would be for the European planemaker's new wide-bodied A350s.

Chilean airline LAN meanwhile said it intended to order 50 single-aisle A320 passenger planes worth a combined 4.2 billion dollars from Airbus.

And Irish aircraft leasing company Avolon ordered 12 single-aisle Boeing 737 airliners worth 920 million dollars.

"The demand for airlines is growing all over the world," the chief executive of US company Air Lease Corporation, Steven Udvar-Hazy, said on Tuesday after agreeing to buy up to 20 of Embraer's regional jets worth 798 million dollars.

Embraer also struck a deal with British low-cost airline Flybe to buy at least 35 of its 88-seater E175 jets.

Flybe has options to buy another 65 planes, and purchase rights for a further 40. The total potential value is 5.0 billion dollars.

"Flybe is procuring this capacity to support its planned European growth," the airline said in a statement.

The Farnborough show had opened on Monday with a flurry of deals as Boeing and Airbus sold more than 200 passenger jets together worth close to 25 billion dollars.

The Farnborough show near London is one of aviation's biggest trade events and renowned for being an arena for major deal announcements for civilian and military planes.

Also on Tuesday, US aerospace giant Boeing said it had signed a deal to sell three of its long-haul 787 Dreamliners together worth 500 million dollars to Royal Jordanian airline.

The plane, which can seat up to 330 passengers, has been beset by production delays but Boeing expects to finally make its first delivery to launch customer All Nippon Airways no later than January.

A fuel-efficient Dreamliner flew to Farnborough on Sunday after making the plane's first test flight outside the United States.

Explaining the purchase of Dreamliner jets, Royal Jordanian chief executive Hussein Dabbas said: "The superior economics and range capability of the 787 will allow us to competitively serve North America and other destinations in our network from Amman."

Airbus is working on a new long-haul plane of its own -- the A350 XWB (Extra Wide Body).

The biggest single order for jets on the opening day of the Farnborough show came from Dubai airline Emirates, which bought 30 Boeing long-range 777 aircraft worth a combined 9.1 billion dollars.

Emirates' huge order came only a month after the airline agreed to spend 11.5 billion dollars on 32 Airbus A380 superjumbos -- the biggest single contract in civil aviation history.

Also on Monday, General Electric's aircraft leasing unit meanwhile agreed to buy 40 single-aisle 737-800 planes worth 3.0 billion dollars from Boeing, and 60 A320 single-aisle planes worth 4.5 billion dollars from Airbus.

Airbus tends to unveil more orders than Boeing at the biennial Farnborough show as the US aircraft giant prefers to spread its announcements across the year.

Customers placing large orders meanwhile tend to receive significant discounts on the price of each plane.

While defence is also in focus at Farnborough, any major deals for military jets at the show are likely to be at a premium with governments set to slash budgets to help reduce huge public deficits.

© 2010 AFP

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