In deals announced at the 15th Aviation Expo China in Beijing on September 25, Airbus has announced orders and commitments from four customers for a total of 160 A320-family jets.
The biggest potential deal of the four has seen Vietnam’s VietJetAir sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for up to 92 Airbus A320-family aircraft. The airline has also agreed to lease eight more A320-family aircraft from third-party lessors.
VietJetAir’s MOU with Airbus covers 42 A320neos, 14 A320ceo (current engine option) jets and six A321s, plus purchase rights for 30 more A320-family aircraft.
An existing A320 operator, VietJetAir has eight leased aircraft already in service. The carrier took delivery this week of its ninth A320, delivered new from Airbus via U.S. leasing company AWAS, which was the customer which actually ordered the aircraft.
“The A320 has proven to be extremely efficient in service with VietJetAir and is a favourite with our passengers, says Luu Duc Khanh, managing Director of VietJetAir. “Based on this experience, we look forward to developing our business with the most economic and comfortable aircraft available today.”
Founded in 2007, VietJetAir performed its inaugural flight on December 24, 2011. VietJetAir is the first private airline in Vietnam to operate domestic and international flights. Today the airline’s network covers 11 destinations within Vietnam, plus international services to Bangkok.
The second-biggest A320-family deal announced by Airbus at the Beijing show on September 25 has seen BOC Aviation, a Singapore-based aircraft leasing subsidiary of Bank of China, announce an additional firm order for 25 A320-family aircraft.
BOC Aviation’s follow-on order includes 13 Airbus A320s and 12 Airbus A320neo-family aircraft. The order comprises A320 and A321 variants. BOC Aviation will make its engine selection at a later date, according to Airbus.
This order from BOC Aviation for 25 more A320-family aircraft comes less than a year after the leasing company’s previous order for 50 A320-family jets.
“The Airbus A320 and A321 family has a proven track record of operational efficiency as well as the support of airline customers seeking a superior travel experience for passengers taking short-haul and medium-haul routes,’’ says Robert Martin, BOC Aviation’s managing director and chief executive officer.
“The fact that we have placed orders for 75 of these aircraft in less than a year speaks of our commitment to our customers to be their lessor of choice with modern, fuel-efficient aircraft for their benefit and for the comfort of their customers,” adds Martin.
Including its latest purchase agreement, BOC Aviation’s cumulative orders for new Airbus aircraft have reached a total of 212 aircraft: 206 A320-family single-aisle jets and six Airbus A330-family widebodies.
At the Aviation Expo China 2013 in Beijing, also, Qingdao Airlines ‒ which is a newly established airline based in the Eastern Chinese coastal city of Qingdao in Shandong Province ‒ has signed a firm order with Airbus for a total of 23 A320-family aircraft, including five A320s and 18 Airbus A320neo jets.
The agreement was signed by He Li, director of the board of Qingdao Airlines, and John Leahy, Airbus’ chief operating officer customers, at the Beijing show. The deal is subject to approval from China’s central government.
Qingdao Airlines expects its first delivery from the 23-aircraft order in 2016. The airline will start operation in 2014 with leased Airbus A320 jets.
“As a newly established airline, we need to have a thorough research before we make a decision on what aircraft to introduce to start operation and build up our brand new fleet,” says Xiao Liyuan, president of Qingdao Airlines.
“We pay much attention to the reliability, economics and cabin comfort of the aircraft and also take the potential for our further fleet expansion into consideration. We believe the Airbus A320-family aircraft are the right choice,” says Xiao.
Also at the Beijing show, Zhejiang Loong Airlines ‒ a new airline based in Hangzhou, the capital city of Zhejiang Province in Eastern China ‒ has signed an MOU for 20 Airbus A320-family aircraft, including 11 A320s and nine A320neos. The airline has recently been approved by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) for passenger flight operation.
Zhejiang Loong Airlines’ MOU was signed by Liu Yi, the airline’s president, and Fabrice Bregier, Airbus’ president and CEO.
“The Airbus A320-family aircraft is ideal for start-up airlines, with clear advantages in operational reliability, economics, cabin space and its commonality between different types of Airbus aircraft, which will help operators to reduce cost on training and maintenance,” says Liu Qihong, chairman of Zhejiang Loong Airlines.
“I believe the Airbus A320 aircraft will help us to achieve the goal of building intensive domestic and international networks around Hangzhou,” adds Liu.
Zhejiang Loong plans to begin commercial operations in 2013. Its passenger operation will start with domestic routes from Hangzhou to first-tier Chinese cities such as Chengdu, Chongqing, Shenzhen and Xi’an. The airline plans to start regional and international routes within the next three to five years.
At the end of August 2013, firm orders for the Airbus A320neo family totaled 2,348 aircraft from 42 customers, which Airbus says makes the A320neo family the fastest selling commercial airliner ever. Total orders for the Airbus A320-family, including -ceo and -neo models, are fast approaching 10,000 aircraft.