Mike Martin

It was the day of the megadeals. Yesterday saw $6.7 billion worth of aircraft orders for Airbus Industrie and Boeing announced at Farnborough '98.

Airbus Industrie announced about $4 billion plus worth of orders from Emirates and International Lease Finance (ILFC), while Boeing revealed a $2.7 order for 39 aircraft from Varig of Brazil.

Emirates confirmed its long-awaited order for six A340-500s with an option on another 10 in a deal worth $2.4 billion. ILFC ordered eight A340-500s and two A340-600s, together with six A320 family aircraft. Although ILFC did not disclose the value of the order, it will have exceeded $1.5 billion.


At the Boeing camp, there was celebration as Varig became the first Latin American carrier to order the Boeing 777. Varig has order four 777-200s, ten Next Generation 737-800s, four 737-700s and six 767-300ERs. In addition, Varig has options on four 777-200s and 11 737-700s.

Rolls-Royce was a double winner with its Trent 500 engine on the Emirates aircraft and on the ILFC widebodies. It is worth $1 billion to R-R. The A320 will be equipped with CFM56 or V2500 engines.

GE and CFM International were selected to supply the engines for the Varig aircraft.

Airbus chief executive officer Noel Forgeard says the two orders are significant but for different reasons.

"We are extremely proud of the relationship with Emirates because it is a trend setter among the airlines," says Forgeard. "This order makes the UAE the largest customer in the Middle East and possibly our largest customer for widebody aircraft in the world with more than 50 aircraft."

Turning to ILFC, Forgeard says: "Our relationship with ILFC is also extremely important, because it is the largest leasing company in the world for new aircraft and because it is Airbus Industrie's largest customer with 282 firm orders."

Emirates plans to use the aircraft, to be delivered between 2002 and 2006, to establish non-stop routes to the east and west coasts of the USA and to Australia. Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum told a press conference: "Only the A340-500 has the performance to fly non-stop to the US east and west coasts, whatever the temperature in Dubai.

"Our passengers will thus benefit from more comfortable and convenient flights in the A340-500, while our ownership will profit from its economy and value."

It is the third time that Emirates has ordered Airbus aircraft. Early next year, Emirates will begin taking delivery of 17 A330-200s.ILFC chief operating officer John Plueger says that his company was ordering the aircraft for delivery in a time frame early in the next century predicted to see the next period of airline business growth.


Firm orders for the A330/A340 family of widebodies now approach 500, with some 50 customers.

Fernando Pinto, Varig president, says that despite the economic situation his company was happy to place such a large order - and it is on the conservative side. "We assume growth for three or four years at smaller rates than our market trends have shown. We are being very, very conservative," he said.

For Boeing, president Harry Stonecipher says: "We're delighted that Varig is the first airline in Latin America to order the 777. Varig's vision demonstrates its commitment to long-term profitable growth."

Source: Flight Daily News