Singapore Airlines has reached an agreement with Airbus to lease another 15 A330-300s for its fleet.
These aircraft will both replace older Boeing 777s in the Star Alliance carrier's fleet and grow its capacity in the coming years. They will be delivered from the Airbus production line between 2013 and 2015, said SIA.
The A330s, which will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines, will be leased for a minimum of six years, with an option for an extension. They will be operated on regional and medium-range routes to Asia, Australia and the Middle East, said the carrier.
SIA's fleet already has another 19 A330-300s that it initially got on five year leases, and these could remain in service for even longer. "There is an option to extend that lease, and there is flexibility on the length of the lease extension," said a spokesman.
The carrier also has 20 Boeing 787-9s and 20 Airbus A350-900s on firm order, according to information in Flightglobal's ACAS database. The 787s were initially due for delivery in 2011, but multiple delays in the programme means that this has now been pushed to 2013 at the earliest.
"We remain in discussions with Boeing on the delivery date for the 787s. The first delivery of the A350s is scheduled for the 2013/14 financial year," said SIA's spokesman.
SIA CEO Goh Choon Phong added: "Together with the additional [Airbus] A380s that we are taking delivery of this year, as well as A350s and 787s on order for the years ahead, the lease of the A330s is consistent with our longstanding policy of operating a young and modern fleet."
The spokesman said that SIA has not decided on the aircraft for its new long-haul low-cost subsidiary, which is due to begin operations within the next year. The airline has said that it would initially provide aircraft to the subsidiary, but the spokesman reiterated that these A330s are for the full service carrier's operations.
Receiving more A330s, however, would allow SIA to transfer some 777-200s in its fleet to the new subsidiary. These 777s could be upgraded to have an extended range and their cabin can be retrofitted for the low-cost operations, said industry sources.