Singapore Airlines (SIA) has delivered an early Christmas present to Airbus, firming up a follow-on order with the troubled manufacturer for nine additional A380s as well as a lease agreement for 19 A330-300s. Its regional subsidiary SilkAir has ordered up to 20 A320s and SIA says it also expects to firm up a proposed deal for up to 40 A350s within a month.

The Star Alliance carrier announced plans for the follow-on A380 order in July, when it also said it planned to place firm orders for 20 A350-900XWBs and take 20 options, as well as lease 19 A330-300s.

It signed firm deals for the additional A380s and the A330s at a ceremony in Singapore today attended by Airbus chief executive Louis Gallois. Airbus chief operating officer customers John Leahy, who was also at the signing ceremony, says that “we expect to sign it [the firm A350 order with SIA] within the next month”.

SIA chief executive Chew Choon Seng confirms that he expects the deal to be signed within a month for delivery from 2013 following the recent launch of the A350 programme by Airbus, adding: “The agreement on the A350s is being worked on right now. Certainly we intend to proceed with the 20 [firm orders] plus 20 [options].”

The carrier is to be the first operator of the A380 following delivery from Airbus in October next year. It had 10 Rolls-Royce Trent 900-powered examples on order from its original deal with Airbus in 2001, deliveries of which were to have begun earlier this year, and now has 19 of the type on firm order.

SIA says the nine additional aircraft are due for delivery between January 2010 and early 2011. Deliveries of these additional aircraft were originally due to have begun in 2008 but they were pushed back as a result of further delays in the A380 programme related to production issues.

The carrier says it has now “reached settlement with Airbus on issues relating to delays to deliveries of the A380. The terms of the purchases and settlement are confidential between the parties”.

SIA’s A330-300 lease deal is related to the planned A350 order and Chew says the carrier has flexibility with the lease terms of the 19 new Rolls-Royce Trent 700-powered twinjets from Airbus, which he says will provide “interim lift” before A350 deliveries begin.

Deliveries of the A330-300s are due to begin in January 2009 and continue through October 2010.

SIA also has 20 Boeing 787-9s on firm order plus 20 options

Meanwhile SIA subsidiary SilkAir has ordered up to 20 more Airbus A320-family aircraft for delivery from 2009.

The deal for 11 firm aircraft and nine options was finalised today following a competition that began in August when requests for proposals were issued to both Airbus and Boeing.

SilkAir at one point also considered ordering Embraer regional jets but decided against it.

The carrier, which mainly operates to holiday destinations, currently operates eight A320s and five smaller A319s. It has one of each type on order from a previous deal with Airbus.

The additional aircraft are due for delivery between 2009 and 2012.

SilkAir says an engine choice will be made later. Its existing aircraft are powered by International Aero Engines V2500s.