SINGAPORE AIRLINES (SIA) has placed an order for 34 Boeing 777s, with options on an additional 43 aircraft. Deliveries will run from 1997 to 2004. The $12.7 billion deal includes spares and the selection of Rolls-Royce Trent 800-series engines.

The selection of R-R was the biggest surprise - the UK engine builder having come off second- best in most of the big 777 engine competitions to date.

R-R claims that the engine order is worth £1.2 billion, if the options are taken up. This is based on a standard list-price, however, and fails to take account of the sizeable discounts required to secure most large engine orders in today's market. The deal includes spares equivalent to 30 engines.

The airline's 23 Airbus A310s now in service will be phased out as the 777s become operational.

SIA plans to finance the purchase from its own cash flow and reserves. The order is based on the 7,600km (4,100nm) range, 300-seat 777-200B, but permits SIA to switch to other types of the 777 family as they appear on the market.

Of particular interest to SIA is the stretched version - the 350-seat 777-300 - which could replace the Boeing 747-400 on some Asia-Pacific sectors.

The 15,700km range 777-100, on the other hand, could be employed on transpacific routes and a lower-gross- weight version of the -100 could also figure for some of the airline's regional routes - although SIA hints tthat here may be another competition for "one other smaller-capacity aircraft type". As it has done before, SIA may put some of its 777 options into a future competition.

The order includes six aircraft and ten options for the Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise in which SIA has a 50 % interest, but no decision has been made on powerplants for these aircraft.o

See Air Transport Analysis, P16.

Source: Flight International