Philippine Airlines' tentative commitment for a dozen Airbus A350-900s and Chinese carrier Okay Airways' deal for up 20 Boeing 737s led the way in what was a quiet Singapore air show for aircraft order activity.

There were 47 order commitments during the show, of which only a deal for 14 A330-900s from an undisclosed customer was a firm order.

Singapore orders 2016 main

Okay's commitment includes a firm order for 12 737s eight Max 8s, three Max 9s and a 737-900ER – but remains subject to Chinese government approval.

The order will make Okay the first 737 Max 9 customer in China. The carrier's chairman Wang Sushen says the aircraft will be "a great asset to support Okay Airways' development".

Okay has six operating bases, including its main one in Tianjin, but Sushen indicates that the airline is aiming to increase this to eight from 2020, including a station in Beijing.

Philippine Airlines is targeting expanding its footprint in Europe and the USA following its move for up to 12 A350-900s. The airline has signed a memorandum of understanding to acquire six of the type, with options for another six aircraft.

PAL chief operating officer Jaime Bautista says the first A350 is scheduled to be delivered to the airline by end-2018, with two others to follow in the first half of 2019. The jets will have 300 seats in a three-class configuration.

He says the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-powered jets will allow PAL to operate nonstop from Manila to the US West Coast and New York, as well as to new destinations in Europe. PAL is currently operating some of these flights with its six A340s, some of which will be retired when the A350s are delivered.

Singapore orders 2016 breakdown

The other two order commitments were from lessors for regional aircraft. Miami-based Aerolease Aviation signed a letter of intent to order up to 20 MRJ regional jets, making it the first lessor to sign up for the aircraft. The order comprises 10 firm orders and 10 options for the MRJ90. A definitive agreement will be finalised "in the near future", says Mitsubishi Aircraft.

Meanwhile, Singapore-based lessor Avation is purchasing an additional five ATR 72-600s. The additions take the lessor's firm orders for the ATR 72 to a total of 35 since their first purchase in 2011.

Singapore orders 2016 values

It means a quiet show overall for deals at the show, hardly surprising given the unprecedented order activity over recent years and which has filled aircraft manufacturer backlogs. There were only around a quarter of the commitments this year compared with the Singapore air show in 2014 – a show dominated by the firming up of tentative orders by VietJet Air and Amedeo – and approximately a tenth of the number from 2012, which included Lion Air confirming a 201-strong order for 737 Max jets.

Singapore orders 2016 historical

Source: Cirium Dashboard