Farnborough Air Show

Emirates signs for son of 747 as Boeing gets on sales roll

 - November 27, 2006, 10:20 AM

Boeing has made a start here at Farnborough International toward fulfilling its recent prophecy of airlines spending $2,600 billion, over the next 20 years by revealing orders worth almost $7.9 billion. More business is scheduled to be unveiled today.

After an almost $4.9 billion Qatar Airways order announcement for 14 777-300ERs and six -200LRs was canceled, Emirates Airline unveiled the year’s first major Boeing Middle East business: 10 General Electric GEnx-powered 747-8F cargo aircraft valued at $3.3 billion for delivery during 2010 to 2014. Separately, the Dubai carrier expects to introduce two further 747-400 freighters next year.

Another Middle East operator set to acquire Boeing freighters is recent Kuwaiti start-up LoadAir Cargo, which has obtained exclusive air freight access to the kingdom. LoadAir has booked two 747-400ERfreighters worth some $494 million for 2009 delivery.

Among previously announced (but unidentified) orders on Boeing’s Web site, are contracts with Indonesian operator and 737-900ER launch customer Lion Air and lessor Aviation Capital Group (ACG). Lion Air has converted options held on 30 examples valued nominally at $2.2 billion and slated to enter service during 2010 to 2012. Delivery of an initial batch of 30 aircraft announced 12 months ago should begin next year. Lion Air operates only Boeings and is said to be Asia’s largest low-cost airline.

In a $987 million deal, ACG has ordered 16 737-800s, some of which might be converted to -700s. ACG also has acquired from Aeromexico (and leased back to it) three -700s and three -800s. Deliveries will begin later this year. The leasing company has over 200 commercial jetliners placed with nearly 90 operators.

Boeing also has increased its 787 twin-aisle twinjet backlog by two here with Tuesday’s recruitment of a third leasing company. Pegasus Aviation Finance ordered six 787-8s, of which four represent a reworking of the aircraft initially destined for Italian carrier Blue Panorama–one of the first 787 customers, in July 2004.

The airline sought “an alternative financing tool” for the 787s and, as part of the agreement, has transferred its orders to Pegasus. The lessor has not announced a customer for the additional two airplanes.

The deal brings to 30 the number of customers for the 787, which Boeing expects to roll out in about 11 months’ time, around the time of the next Paris Air Show. First flight is mooted for late August 2007. The U.S. manufacturer sees an initial market to replace around 1,000 767s and perhaps 600 Airbus A300/A310/A330 aircraft before accommodating additional growth, said 787 vice president and general manager Mike Bair here at Farnborough.

Boeing expects to see a relatively small number of operators flying the 300-passenger 787-3 on niche services, with its remaining market split evenly between the longer-range but smaller -8 and -9 variants. Work on the prospective -10, likely to be sized for up to 300 passengers “plus or minus 10 or 20” allied to the 7,700-nm range of the larger 777-200ER, continues as Boeing mulls an increase in production rate after the first two years of manufacture (during which period some 112 787s are slated for delivery).

With memories of an earlier debacle with the 737 when production outstripped availability of parts still in mind, a major consideration for Boeing is the capacity of its myriad suppliers to match the airframer’s volume requirements.