Airlines from fast-growing new markets in the Middle East and Russia once again boosted dwindling aircraft sales yesterday here. Airbus cashed in to the tune of up to $4.5 billion with four contracts calling for up to 56 new jets.
Gulf carrier Qatar Airways kicked off the near frenzy of transactions with a memorandum of understanding covering the purchase of four A321s, plus options on a further two.
Later in the day, Tunisair announced an order for 10 Airbus A320s, three A330-200s and three A350-800s, increasing its Airbus portfolio to 35 aircraft, while increased activity by leasing companies saw Aviation Capital Group signing for 23 Airbus A320 family aircraft, bringing the total number of the type ordered by the Pacific Life Corp subsidiary to 148. Russian flag-carrier Aeroflot added to its fleet of 38 A320 family aircraft with an order for five additional A321s. Finally, fast-growing lessor Dubai Aerospace Enterprise converted its memorandum of understanding for 100 A320 family aircraft to firm orders.
The six Qatar A321s will, if all options are converted, be delivered during 2009 and 2010, increasing the operator’s fleet of regional service network A321s to 14. Chief executive Akbar Al Baker said that by 2020, he expects the airline to include 11 A320s and two A319LRs alongside 35 larger aircraft in a 62-strong fleet.
Al Baker confirmed previous statements regarding possible low-cost carrier (LCC) operations and interest in the newly launched Bombardier C-Series regional aircraft. “If an LCC enters our market and I feel the pain, we will start our own operation within 90 days. We will offer a better product, a better service at lower than their cost,” he said.
Tunisair, celebrating its 60th anniversary, has ordered three A350s, three A330-200s and ten A320s as part of a fleet expansion adding to the airline’s 12 A320s, four A319s and three A300-600s.
DAE Capital’s confirmation of its 100-aircraft order, placed at the Dubai airshow last November, includes 30 Airbus A350-900s and 70 A320s.