Airbus has kicked off the Farnborough International Airshow with a multi-billion dollar series of deals for its A320 and A350 families of aircraft, with orders for the A320 totalling 201 of the type.
The deals confirmed at the show include a firm order from Golden Falcon Aviation, the aircraft provider of Kuwait’s Wataniya Airways, for 25 A320neo. It follows a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) first announced at last year’s Dubai Airshow, with delivery of the new aircraft expected in 2022.
Wataniya Airways resumed operations in July last year and currently operates a fleet of four A320 aircraft serving destinations in the Middle East, Europe, Africa and Asia from its base in Kuwait. Rakan Al-Tuwaijri, chief executive officer of Golden Falcon Aviation (pictured) said at the signing: “The A320neo fits perfectly into our plan.”
Sharing an insight into the market, he explained: “The market in Kuwait is a little bit different from any other market. Kuwait carriers hold 30% of the market share, while foreign carriers have 70%.” He added that the airline is looking to capture the point-to-point market, with Airbus saying in a statement that the A320neo family will support the airline’s vision to become the fastest growing and leading airline in the country.
Another deal saw Oman’s first low-fare carrier, SalamAir, sign an agreement to add six new A320neo to its fleet, five of which are on lease from an undisclosed lessor. The airline, which launched services in January 2017, currently operates a fleet of three A320ceo aircraft and Airbus say the new fleet will support the budget airline’s plans to increase connectivity across the region’s under-served and popular short to medium-haul routes.
New Delhi-based carrier, Vistara, also signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) for 13 A320neos and has committed to an additional 37 A320neo aircraft from lessors. The combined agreements would add 50 A320neos to Vistara’s fleet. For the airline, the aircraft will be the first to fly regional international routes.
Airbus also saw plenty of interest from lessors, announcing an MoU with an unnamed global lessor for 80 A320neo aircraft, with engine selection to be made at a later date. Later in the day, Goshawk Aviation Limited, the 50/50 joint venture between Hong Kong-based conglomerate NWS Holdings Limited and Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Limited, placed a firm order for 20 A320neo, with engine selection also to be made at a later date.
An affiliate of Macquarie AirFinance Group Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Macquarie Group Limited, was another to place a firm order, again for 20 A320neos to add to its existing portfolio of 119 Airbus aircraft. This is the first time the group has ordered the A320neo and makes it the newest customer for the type.
The larger end of the scale
At the larger end of the market, Airbus has seen a couple of orders in the widebody market. Sichuan Airlines, based in the Southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu, confirmed a deal made earlier in the year for the A350 XWB aircraft to join its fleet on its non-stop long-haul international routes.
The airline operates the largest all-Airbus fleet in China with over 130 Airbus aircraft and in addition to its domestic network, the airline now operates on over 30 international routes. The airline also leased four A350 XWBs, with the first to be delivered by this year.
Another deal saw a new start-up carrier in Taiwan, STARLUX Airlines, sign an MoU at the show to purchase 17 A350 XWBs. The order is made up of 12 A350-1000s and five A350-900s, which are scheduled to be delivered to the operator beginning in late 2021.
This follows a decision by the airline earlier this year to select Airbus for its regional single-aisle fleet, with a plan to finalise leases for 10 A321neo aircraft from third party lessors by the end of the year.
The airline will begin accepting delivery of 10 Airbus A321neos in October 2019, with the launch of regional operations planned for early 2020, followed by long-haul services early in 2022.
Golden Falcon Aviation, the aircraft provider of Wataniya Airways has confirmed an order for 25 Airbus A320neo Family aircraft. (L-R) Fouad Attar, head of Airbus commercial, Africa & Middle East; Eric Schulz, Airbus chief commercial officer; Rakan AL-TUWAIJRI, chief executive officer of Golden Falcon Aviation; Alex ACAIN, Watanyia Airways legal advisor and Said Bouhia, sales director.