Traditionally something of a wash up, day 3 of the Farnborough International Airshow has been significantly quieter than the opening instalments as manufacturers work to tie down the final deals of the event.
There has, however, been some significant announcements. The biggest deal of the day came from VietJet Air, which has doubled up its commitment for the 737 MAX via an MoU for 100-aircraft. The deal, valued at $12.7bn, covers 80 MAX 10s and 20 MAX 8s and makes the Vietnamese carrier the biggest operator of the MAX 10 in Asia.
“We are excited to introduce Boeing’s newest 737 MAX 10 into our rapidly growing fleet,” the airline’s president and CEO Madam Nguyễn Thị Phương Thảo said. “These new airplanes will fit perfectly into our growth strategy, providing the efficiency and range for VietJet to expand its route network and offer more international destinations for our customers and expand alliances across Asia Pacific, the fastest growing aviation market in the world.”
The US firm also secured $11bn in sales from four unnamed customers covering a total of 93 737 MAXs, 40 of which are the high-capacity variant of the MAX 8.
Closer to home, Airbus officially handed over the first A321neo to easyJet, the 235-seat aircraft becoming the 308th in the London Luton-based carrier’s fleet.
Commenting on the delivery, easyJet’s CEO Johan Lundgren said: “We are delighted to mark the delivery of our first A321neo aircraft today. This larger aircraft will enable us deliver our strategy of securing and growing our number one positions at Europe’s leading and slot-constrained airports.
“It will also provide easyJet with the lowest operating costs in the single aisle aircraft category with unit cost savings which are estimated to be up to 9% better than an A320neo and around 21% better than an A319.
“And crucially it will also bring significant environmental and operational benefits which means we will be able to offer more seats and low fares to even more people travelling on Europe’s most popular leisure and business routes, whilst both reducing emissions and noise to mitigate our impact on the communities around the airports we serve.”
The first example, which was flown into Farnborough by an all-female crew, was handed over barely a year after the airline converted 30 outstanding orders from the A320neo to the stretched A321neo.
The European manufacturer also firmed up an amended deal from Mexico’s Viva Aerobus, covering 25 incremental A321neos and 16 up-conversions of A320neos to the stretched variant. Airbus also secured a further six commitments for the A330neo from an undisclosed customer.
It was a far busier day for the major regional aircraft manufacturers including Bombardier, which signed a firm order with new flag carrier Uganda National Airlines for four 76-seat CRJ900s (the African start up has also outlined plans to acquire two A330neos). Embraer meanwhile has received a LOI from Nordic Aviation Capital for three E190s – once firmed up, it will expand the lessor’s E-Jet portfolio to 134 aircraft.
ATR is also celebrating a successful day. The Franco-Italian firm signed an MoU with Japan Airlines Group carrier Hokkaido Air System for two ATR 42-600s with an option for a third. The aircraft, which are expected to enter service by 2020, will replace the Japanese operator’s fleet of Saab 340s.
This was followed by a second MoU, this time from Colombia’s EasyFly for five aircraft – three ATR 72-600s and two ATR 42-600s.
This followed news the Toulouse-based firm has extended its customer support services to include a new e-Spares platform and an expanded customer care offering, while it will also extend the A-check intervals from 500 to 700 flying hours.
Day 3 also brought a raft of engine orders, including from Air Lease Corporation which signed a $2.3bn deal with CFM International to power 83 737 MAX aircraft. It also signed a similar agreement with Pratt & Whitney to supply engines for 26 A320neos.
Away from the major orders, Hybrid Air Vehicles and Design Q unveiled a passenger cabin for the former’s Airlander airship. Intended to serve the luxury expeditionary tourism sector, it will feature private en-suite bedrooms for 19 passengers, along with a lounge area and a bar/restaurant.
Design Q’s CEO Howard Guy said: “We love doing different things. Our fantastic team of young designers relish the opportunity to do something no one’s done before, to imagine a new concept and then to get into the detailed design of what this space will be.
“My team exploited the opportunity that Airlander 10 presents; we had a huge space to create an experience that makes no compromises. This is luxury like you’ve never known it – with the ability to go anywhere in the world.”