Airbus kicks off Farnborough air show with A330neo launch

07/14/2014 8:28 AM

08/08/2014 10:25 AM

Airbus announced the launch of its A330neo, an upgraded A330 to compete with Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, as the Farnborough International Airshow kicked off Monday.

The A330neo will have a 14 percent fuel savings, new engines and a larger wingspan. First deliveries are expected by the end of 2017.

Airbus also announced that Air Lease Corp., a Los Angeles-based leasing company, has signed a memo of understanding for 25 A330-900neo commercial airplanes, becoming the launch customer for the upgraded widebody plane.

Air Lease Corp. simultaneously announced a firm order for 60 A321neo aircraft.

The contract was signed Monday at the air show.

“The recently launched A330neo is a well-suited addition to ALC’s fleet as we continue to provide our customers with the most modern, fuel efficient aircraft on the market,” Steven Udvar-Hazy, chairman and CEO of Air Lease Corp., said in a statement.

The A330neo will have success in the medium-range market because of its reliability, comfort and low operating costs, he said.

The A330 has been one of Airbus’ most successful airplanes in its widebody family, Kiran Rao, Airbus executive vice president of strategy and marketing, said in a statement.

The airlines are asking for the A330neo to be available as soon as possible, the company said.

Boeing president and CEO of commercial airplanes Ray Conner said the company knows the A330 and its engines well.

“I congratulate them on making that decision,” Conner said during a press conference Monday at the Airshow.

Conner said that Boeing feels comfortable with its product line in terms of efficiency to compete.

“We have the right product mix,” he said.

Planemakers and others typically make announcements about new programs or big sales on Monday and Tuesday of the air show, which is held every other year, alternating with the Paris Air Show.

Boeing announced Monday that it is finalizing terms and working toward a purchase agreement from Monarch Airlines for 30 737 MAX 8s as the airline starts a fleet conversion to Boeing single-aisle airplanes.

The order is valued at $3.1 billion at current list prices. Boeing has taken orders for 2000 737 MAX airplanes from 42 customers worldwide, making it the most successful launch in Boeing’s history, the company said.

Monarch Airlines is headquartered at London Luton Airport.

Boeing announced an order for six 737 Max 8s and four Next Generation 737-800s from Otay Airways, an order valued at $980 million at list prices.

Otay Airlines is the first privately owned airline in China. It announced that it will convert five 737-800s from a previous order into 737-900ERs.

And to keep the competition brisk between the world’s two biggest planemakers, Airbus announced that it has firmed up an order with AerCap, a lessor headquartered in Amsterdam, for an additional 50 A320neo commercial aircraft.

AerCap acquired ILFC earlier this year.

With the acquisition and Monday’s order, AerCap’s total order of A320neo rises to 200.

AerCap is Airbus’ biggest customer in number and value of aircraft purchased, the planemaker said.

Brazil-based Embraer said it delivered 29 commercial jets and 29 business aircraft during the second quarter of 2014, for a total of 58 aircraft delivered.

That compares to 51 planes delivered in the same period in 2013.

Its order backlog on June 30 totaled $18.1 billion.

Embraer delivered 22 light business jets during the quarter during the quarter and seven large business jets.

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