Indonesia Boosts Singapore Sales but China and India Are Quiet

 - February 20, 2012, 6:19 AM
Dinesh Keskar (left), v-p of Asia Pacific and India sales for Boeing Commercial Airplane, shakes on a deal for 201 copies of the 737Max-9 with Rusdi Kirana, Lion Air president. (Photo: Mark Wagner)

What did last week’s Singapore Airshow tell us about the state of air transport in the Asia Pacific region? Apart from highlighting Indonesia as being a pocket of pent-up demand for fleet modernization, the honest answer is not very much. Indonesia’s Lion Air confirmed a massive order for 201 of Boeing’s new 737Max-9 narrowbodies, plus 29 of the existing 737-900ERs—although this was no more than confirmation of a commitment previously made at the Dubai Air Show last November. However, Lion Air did also sign a fresh contract worth $610 million for 27 ATR72-600s (see Sales in Singapore Solidify Turboprop Backlogs).

Another beneficiary of Indonesian expansion was Bombardier, with flag carrier Garuda being revealed as the Asian launch customer for the CRJ1000 regional jet. It is to buy 18 of the 100-seaters in a deal worth $1.32 billion at list prices—a major boost for the Canadian airframer, which had been struggling to sustain production of the type. Airbus also won some new business in Singapore, but the largest chunk of this came from well outside the region in the shape of a deal with Kuwait-based leasing group Alafco for 35 of its new A320neo narrowbodies. It did also sell a single A319 to Drukair, the national carrier of the Himalyan kingdom of Bhutan.

The 2012 Singapore show did not generate a single order directly from the region’s dominant air transport markets of China and India. Admittedly, leasing group BOC Aviation provisionally agreed to buy 20 of the new C919 airliners produced by China’s Comac, but it remains unclear when this deal will be firmed up and where the aircraft in question might be delivered. BOC is based in Singapore and is a directly owned subsidiary of the Bank of China. Finally, no doubt well aware that in the long term the Asia Pacific region will prove to be its fastest-growing customer base, Boeing Commercial Aviation Services chose the Singapore show to launch the rebranding of its entire service and support offering under the name “Edge.” The package will cover material services, fleet service and flight and information services. Singapore Airlines Cargo became the first carrier to sign up for Edge, when it opted for a GoldCare package to cover 13 of its 747-400 freighters.