Flurry of new orders for Airbus at Paris Air Show 2011

Posted on 22 Jun 2011 by The Manufacturer

Airbus has reported taking another large round of orders from customers around the world, with over 500 orders placed for aircraft this year already.

Aircraft orders and commitments for the A320neo new engine option from such customers as CIT Group, GE Capital Aviation Services, International Lease Finance Corp. and Air Lease Corp. have pushed the total number of bookings for the new engine option to more than 500, underscoring the broad customer appeal for this fuel efficient jetliner.

Memorandums of understandings (MOUs) were agreed between Airbus and two customers. New York-based CIT Group Inc. (NYSE CIT), a leading global commercial finance company signed a deal with Airbus for the production of 50 A320neo family aircraft, while JetBlue Airways and Airbus announced an MOU for the airline to purchase 40 of the same aircraft.

JetBlue Airways, also New York-based, has not yet said which engines it will use in the 40 new aircraft. As well as the new orders, the company has proposed that it is to convert 30 of its current orders for A320 aircraft to the larger A321 model with enhanced wingtip devices called Sharklets (see here for article on the story on Airbus’ new wingtip programme).

“JetBlue’s very first flight was operated by an A320, and with today’s news, we are further planning our future fleet with Airbus, our longest-standing business partner,” said Dave Barger, president and CEO of JetBlue Airways.

John Leahy, Airbus chief operating officer customers said: “JetBlue is already one of the largest A320 Family operators in the world.”

The order of 50 A320neo aircraft by CIT brings the total number of aircraft in the Airbus order book for the group to 241, comprising 195 A320 Family aircraft (including the 50 A320neo aircraft), 39 A330s, seven A350 XWBs. Of these, 141 have been delivered so far.

“This order will enable CIT Aerospace to maintain one of the youngest and most technologically advanced fleets in the industry and will help us meet our customers’ demand for state-of-the-art, fuel efficient aircraft,” said C. Jeffrey Knittel, president of Transportation Finance at CIT.

John Leahy of Airbus said: “This order yet again underlines the continued anticipated high demand for A320neo on the leasing market in particular thanks to their outstandingly high levels of reliability and unbeatable economics of the A320 Family.”

As well as the above two American customers announcing the purchase of new aircraft, Taiwanese airline TransAsia Airways said today that it is to buy six A321neo aircraft. The company claimed that the new aircraft will enable the airline to respond to strong growth on regional services, especially on direct routes between Taiwan and mainland China.

“With 18 years of successful operations with the A320 Family we have benefited from the low operating costs and exceptional reliability offered by the Airbus single aisle product line,” explained Vincent Lin, chairman of TransAsia Airways.

This order from TransAsia represents another vote of confidence from the Asian region in the latest versions of the best-selling A320 Family,” said John Leahy of Airbus. “No other aircraft in the 185-220 seat category will come close to the levels of efficiency offered by the A321neo,” he added.

UPDATE 14:00 …

India’s largest low-cost carrier, IndiGo has firmed up its historic order for 180 airbus single aisle aircraft. The firming up of the order for 150 A320neo and 30 A320 follows the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed earlier in January.

A strong endorsement of the newest evolution in the Airbus fleet came today with the announcement of a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) for 40 A320 New Engine Option (A320neo) aircraft and 40 A319neo aircraft from Republic Airways Holdings, Inc., the parent company of U.S.-based Frontier Airlines.

Recently-merged AviancaTaca, which includes subsidiary AeroGal of Ecuador, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 51 A320 Family aircraft, including 33 eco-efficient A320neo. Once firm, the order will be the largest order for A320neo in the region and also the biggest from a single airline in the history of Airbus in Latin America.

LAN Airlines, one of Latin America’s leading passenger and cargo airlines placed a firm order at Le Bourget Airshow for 20 A320neo aircraft as part of its expansion strategy and fleet renewal program. The airline becomes the first in the region to sign a firm order for the A320neo. Engine selection will be announced by the airline at a later date.