By Mike Martin
Kingfisher Airlines led the way in another astonishing day of orders for Airbus yesterday with a 50-aircraft commitment worth $7 billion. The Indian carrier signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for 15 A350-800 XWBs on top of five converted from an original order; ten A330-200s, five A340-500s and 20 A320 family aircraft.
“Our strategy is to open new long-haul routes and expand existing ones,” said Vijay Mallya, chairman of UB Group, Kingfisher’s parent. “With the A340-500 and the A350 XWB we will be able to offer routes between India and the US. The A330s will allow us to expand services to Europe and the A320s will meet demand in our home region.”
Earlier Etihad Airways announced it is to buy 12 Airbus widebodies in a $2.2bn deal. The UAE’s national carrier has pushed back its four A380s to 2013, saying the date will better suit its needs. Etihad is buying three Airbus A330-200Fs, five passenger A330s and four A340-600s.
The order boosts Etihad’s Airbus fleet to 42.
Lessor Aircastle also signed a $2.6bn contract to acquire 15 A330-200F aircraft, becoming a launch customer for the freighter, with deliveries expected from 2010.
Other deals included:
- Afriqah Airways announced the purchase of five A320s and signed an MoU for six A350 XWBs in a $1.6bn deal. The A350s will be delivered from 2017.
- Libyan Airlines signed a $1.8bn (MoU) with Airbus for four A350 XWBs, four A330-200s and seven A320s. Delivery of the A350 XWBs will start in 2017.
- Ural Airlines signed an MoU for five A320 aircraft worth about $450m.
- Russian carrier Aeroflot turned its initial commitment for 22 A350 XWBs into a firm order and signed a contract for five additional A321s.