A fast-growing Asian airline and two more well-known leasing companies have joined the list of Airbus A330neo launch customers, signing commitments for a total of 80 A330neo jets.
The memorandums of understanding (MOUs) for 80 A330neos announced by the three customers on July 15, the second day of the Farnborough International Airshow 2014, join with a launch commitment announced by lessor Air Lease Corporation the previous day for 25 A330neos, taking commitments for the new Airbus widebody family to 105 aircraft in the space of two days from four customers.
Heading the list of additional launch customers for the Airbus A330neo family as the biggest customer yet for the new family is AirAsia X, the long-haul affiliate of Asia’s largest low cost airline, AirAsia.
AirAsia X has signed an MOU with the manufacturer for 50 Airbus A330-900neo aircraft. AirAsia X will be one of the first operators of the aircraft, with deliveries to the carrier scheduled to begin in 2018.
The agreement was signed at the Farnborough Airshow International 2014 in the UK by Azran Osman-Rani, CEO of AirAsia X; and Fabrice Brégier, president and CEO of Airbus. It was witnessed by Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, co-founder and director of AirAsia X; Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, chairman of AirAsia X Berhad and John Leahy, chief operating officer, customers, for Airbus.
“We have been encouraging Airbus to launch this new version of the A330 for some time now,” says Fernandes. ”I am pleased that they are offering this choice and bringing us the aircraft we truly need to develop further our low-cost long-haul model. We are 100 per cent sure that the A330neo will be quite unbeatable in its size category and we look forward to enabling more people to fly further more often aboard this great aircraft.”
The latest MOU from AirAsia X further consolidates the position of the AirAsia Group as one of Airbus’s largest airline customers. In total, the group has ordered 536 Airbus aircraft, excluding the July 15, 2014 MOU for the 50 Airbus A330-900neo jets.
Also on July 15, Dublin-based leasing company Avolon announced an MOU for 15 Airbus A330neo-family aircraft, becoming a launch customer.
The company didn’t specify whether it would order Airbus A330-800neo jets, Airbus A330-900neo widebodies, or both, but the computer graphic image Airbus released of an Airbus A330neo in Avolon house colors was of an A330-900neo.
Avolon’s commitment was also signed at the Farnborough International Airshow 2014, by Dómhnal Slattery, Avolon’s CEO; John Higgins, Avolon’s president and chief commercial officer; and Airbus President and CEO Fabrice Brégier.
“Our latest order for 15 Airbus A330neo aircraft reflects our ongoing commitment to provide the world’s airlines with the next generation of fuel efficient aircraft,” says Slattery. “Today’s order represents an additional investment in the neo range of aircraft which follows our previous commitment to the A320neo. We have already experienced great interest from customers in the A320neo range due to the expected high performance and fuel-efficiency of the aircraft.”
Avolon’s Higgins adds: “We are delighted to be a launch customer for this innovative, high-performance aircraft. This A330neo order complements our ongoing sale and leaseback and fleet financing activity in both the A330 and A320 families and further strengthens our product offering, which now incorporates both narrowbody and widebody neo aircraft delivering from 2018 onwards.”
The third A330neo customer announced on July 15 was CIT Group Inc.
New York-based leasing and finance company CIT Group Inc announced it had signed MOUs to order 15 A330-900neo aircraft along with five Airbus A321 single-aisle jets, becoming one of four launch customers for the new A330neo announced within two days.
The two CIT Group MOUs were signed at the Farnborough International Airshow 2014 by Jeff Knittel, president of CIT Transportation & International Finance; and Airbus head Brégier.
CIT will announce its engine selection for the five Airbus A321 aircraft at a later date, according to Airbus.
“As one of the largest aircraft lessors in the world, we are pleased to be able to once again partner with Airbus on the newest variant of the A330, as well as their A320 program,” says CIT’s Knittel. “These new aircraft will allow CIT to maintain one of the youngest and most technologically advanced fleets in the industry, while providing fuel-efficient aircraft solutions to our customers through a range of sizes and categories of aircraft.”