ASIANA OF SOUTH Korea is understood to have asked Airbus Industrie, Boeing and McDonnell Douglas to provide pricing for around 40 new narrow body and wide body aircraft for delivery from 1998/9 onwards.

The airline has divided its projected future requirement between about 20 new 100- to 150-seat short-range, and a similar number of medium- and long-range, wide bodies. Tenders, are expected to be submitted, by the end of the year.

To meet its shorter-range needs, Asiana is focusing on the Airbus A320, the third-generation Boeing 737 and the McDonnell Douglas MD-90 series. Larger types under consideration include additional Boeing 767s and 747-400s, the new 777 twinjet and the Airbus A330/340.

An order of this magnitude would effectively double the size of Asiana's all-Boeing fleet of 38 aircraft. The Korean carrier already has a further 21 aircraft on order, consisting of five 747-400s, two 747-400Fs, five 767-300s, two 767 freighters and eight 737-400s, the bulk of which are due for delivery through to 1998.

A significant proportion of Asiana's fleet isO operated on leases from Ansett, International Lease Finance and GPA, many of which are due to be returned towards the end of the decade. According to an airline source, new aircraft are intended as replacements, and to allow for further growth.

Source: Flight International