Singapore Air Show

Singapore Order Tally Grows to $30 Billion

 - February 12, 2014, 7:07 AM
Dubai Aerospace Enterprise managing director Khalifa Al Daboos (left) with ATR chief executive Filippo Bagnato. (Photo: Mark Wagner)

Leasing groups Amadeo and Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) yesterday pushed the airliner orders tally for the 2014 Singapore Airshow close to $30 billion, with separate deals for up 60 new aircraft. Amadeo, which up until Monday this week was known as Doric Lease Corp., firmed up an order for 20 Airbus A380s that had been the subject of a memorandum of understanding signed at the last Paris Air Show in June 2013. Meanwhile DAE inked a $1 billion contract with ATR for up to 40 ATR 72-600s turboprops.

In other business announced in Singapore on Wednesday, Boeing and Thai low-fare carrier NokAir yesterday announced a commitment to order eight 737-800NGs and seven 737 Max 8s. Potentially worth $1.45 billion at list prices, the deal would establish Nok Air as the first airline in Thailand to operate the 737 Max.

ATR also signed a $200 million agreement with Bangkok Airways for up to eight ATR72-600s. This and the DAE order add to the European regional aircraft maker’s Singapore Airshow tally which started with an order for six aircraft from Spain’s Binter Canarias.

Airbus CEO Fabrice Brégier and John Leahy, chief operating officer for customers, joined Amedeo CEO Mark Lapidus in signing the contract for their A380s. The parties valued the aircraft at $8.3 billion at list price. Amedeo has not yet decided on an engine choice for the A380s between the Engine Alliance GP7200 and Rolls-Royce Trent 900.

Lapidus said the leasing company does not currently have customers for the A380 acquisition, which he described as a “speculative order.” However, he added: “What is certain about this agreement is we have commitments.”

The schedule calls for five or six A380 deliveries per year between 2016 and 2020. The airplane’s baseline cabin configuration features a three-class, 573-seat layout, with 427 seats on the lower main deck.

“The growth in traffic is very reasonably back in every market of the world,” Lapidus said. Scheduling and slot constraints on certain routes will favor airlines that operate the superjumbo, he added.

Prior to being rebranded as Amedeo last year, the leasing company ranked as the third largest widebody lessor worldwide by fleet value and the world’s largest asset manager of leased A380s, the companies said. Its portfolio of managed aircraft was valued at $6.8 billion, which included 18 A380s acquired through sale-leaseback agreements. Last year, it added four more A380s.

NokAir’s deal with Boeing calls for eight 737-800NGs and seven 737 Max 8, making it the first operator of the new generation Max in Thailand. Boeing said it will work with the Bangkok-based airline to finalize the details of the agreement. Appearing with Boeing vice president of sales for Asia Pacific and India Dinesh Keskar, Nok Air CEO Patee Sarasin said he expected to close the deal “very, very soon.”

While Nok Air now flies a fleet of 14 leased 737s to 26 destinations, the order would mark the airline’s first direct sales contract with Boeing. Sarasin indicated the deal would involve a sale-leaseback transaction and serve as the basis of a plan to replace several members of his aging fleet.

“This commitment is a major step in our growth strategy,” said Sarasin. “The 737 is the backbone of our fleet and will continue to be in the future. These airplanes position us for growth and ensure that we’ll continue to operate the most reliable and fuel-efficient aircraft.”

DAE’s ATR deal covers 20 firm orders and options for 20 more. Deliveries are scheduled between 2015 and 2018 and the deal is DAE’s first order for regional aircraft and ATR’s first deal with a Middle Eastern leasing company.

“We aim to diversify our portfolio and expand into regional aircraft to meet an increasing demand from airlines that are developing regional air connectivity,” Khalifa Al Daboos, DAE’s managing director, said. He claimed to hold lease commitments from airlines for all of the first 20 aircraft. The 68- to 74-seaters will be mostly configured in two classes, he added.

The contract with Bangkok Airways includes six firm orders and two options. The carrier began operating ATRs in 1994 and president Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth made it clear it was time for replacing some of the current eight ATR 72-500s, which the new purchase is essentially for. He also hinted at possible future fleet growth. The firm ordered aircraft are scheduled for delivery this year (one), 2005 (four) and 2016 (one). Pilots will train on an upgraded simulator at L-3’s training center in Bangkok.