Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Airbus wins $4.2 billion in deals with Air Asia, Vietnam Airlines, Cebu Pacific

Airbus announced orders from three Asian airlines — two of them low-cost — in deals worth $4.2 billion on Tuesday, giving the European planemaker a boost at the Paris Air Show, which is overshadowed by recession and a slumping industry.

Archrival Boeing Co. has yet to place a single o So far, Airbus has made $6.1 billion in sales of 55 aircraft at the air show, including an order placed Monday.

Airbus' biggest order on Tuesday came from Air Asia, a low-cost carrier based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for 10 A350-900 jets worth $2.4 billion.

Airbus CEO Tom Enders and Air Asia's CEO Tony Fernandes announced the deal, which also includes options for five more.

"Today's order is certainly proof that there are some rays of sunshine in the market, especially in the low-cost sector," Enders said in a signing ceremony after talks were concluded early this morning.

Fernandes claimed credit for the improved weather at the Paris Air Show — which opened Monday to heavy rain — as well as a lift to the industry's gloom.

"We from Malaysia have brought the sun over," he said.

Airlines often negotiate substantial discounts to catalog prices, particularly in tough economic times.

Fernandes said he got a "good deal" from Airbus, but claimed that he wasn't taking advantage of the period of weak economic growth, when planes are cheaper.

Separately, Vietnam Airlines ordered 16 Airbus A321 single-aisle jets worth $1.4 billion and pledged to buy two more A350-XWB planes.

Airbus only counts firm orders in its overall tally. When airlines make a commitment to buy, they place a small deposit but the sale is not legally binding.

Airbus also said Cebu Pacific has made a firm order for five single-aisle A320s worth a total of $385 million at list prices.

On Monday, Qatar Airways placed firm orders for 20 single-aisle A320s and confirmed a commitment for four A321 jets announced last year at the Farnborough Air Show. The deal is worth $1.9 billion.
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