Malaysian discount-fare airline AirAsia finally chose an engine type for the 60 Airbus A320s it ordered in two batches last December and in March. CFM International will supply its CFM56-5B as specified under a firm order signed here yesterday for 120 engines and nine spares valued at some $750 million at list price.
Airplanes certainly qualify as high-value assets, and operating and maintaining a fleet of them can be a tricky exercise, especially in the airline industry, where razor-thin profit margins make it difficult to keep cash flowing in the right direction. That’s precisely why companies like Avexus were created.
AirAsia has taken a 19-percent stake in GE Engine Services’ engine-overhaul business in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and become the first customer for the engine company’s new OnPoint service package. Under a 23-year agreement signed here yesterday, GE will provide maintenance, repair and overhaul for 129 CFM56-5B engines that will power the airline’s Airbus A320-200 fleet.
Details of Irish carrier Ryanair’s latest contract with Boeing illustrate some of the negotiable areas within such agreements. Last month, the low-cost carrier completed its fourth 737-800 order in seven years under aggressive plans that predict fleet growth from 82 such aircraft to 225 by March 31, 2012. By then, Ryanair expects to carry 70 million passengers annually, compared with 34 million in the current year.
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia-based National Air Services (NAS) has ordered five Airbus A318 Elites, a 15-seat, luxury version of the 100-seat-class airliner. In an announcement made during the first Middle East Business Aviation Conference here in Dubai yesterday, the operator also optioned five more of the twinjets.
Here at the Dubai 2005 show today, India’s Kingfisher Airlines is expected to order 20 ATR 72-500s, and to take options on an additional 15 of the 68-seat twin turboprop. The ATR 72s are to be delivered during a three-year period beginning next March and will be used to serve regional routes on the subcontinent.
Kuwaiti private carrier Jazeera Airways has signed a 10-year MRO contract with Lufthansa Tecknik to support its fleet of Airbus A320s. The airline has so far taken two of the airplanes and expects two more to arrive next summer. The contract covers any further airplanes that join Jazeera’s fleet.
Airbus took some of the sting out of its rival Boeing’s blockbuster sales announcement yesterday with a pair of significant orders of its own for A350s and A320s.
Brisbane, Australia-based Virgin Blue placed a firm order last month for three Embraer E170s and 11 E190s, along with options on another six airplanes, giving the Brazilian airframe maker its largest-ever sale on the continent.
German marketing specialist Inviseo has launched a new plan to raise cash for airlines. The idea involves using the bottom of the backrest tables in commercial airplanes for advertising. When in the upright position, the seatback displays guarantee intensive exposure to consumers throughout a flight. The firm has developed a table that can display printed media and meets all safety standards.