VASP is in final negotiations with Airbus Industrie for a big A310 order, which will represent largest deal for the aircraft in the past four years.

The Brazilian carrier is the hitherto undisclosed customer for ten A310-300s during the recent Farnborough Air Show (Flight International, 18-24 September). According to VASP, it is aiming to finalise the contract by 6 October. General Electric CF6-80C2 engines are understood to have been selected.

VASP says that the A310s are being acquired for operation on its expanding international network and will also be used by the two associates in which it has shareholdings, Ecuatoriana and Lloyd Aereo Boliviano (LAB).

The Ecuadorian flag carrier Ecuatoriana has recommenced operations with a McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 flying between Quito and Miami. It plans to add services to other North American points, and Europe. LAB, which already flies two leased A310-300s, is adding European services to its network, initially to Paris and Lisbon.

The VASP deal will be a welcome boost for the A310, sales of which have dwindled in recent years leading to a backlog reduction to just a handful of aircraft. While small deals have been concluded with operators such as Biman Bangladesh Airlines and Yemenia, the last major A310 sale was to Delta Air Lines, which ordered nine aircraft in 1992.

Final assembly of the A310 is integrated with that of the A300 on a single line at Toulouse. The combined annual production rate has dropped from a peak of over 40 aircraft in the early 1990s, to around 20-25 aircraft in recent years.



Source: Flight International