Friday, June 26, 2009

Paris Air Show summary

At the recently concluded Paris Air Show held this week, many airlines placed significant orders for aircraft for their long term expansion. The main highlights of the show were as follows:

a) Qatar Airways announced an order for 20 A 320s + 4 A 321s.

b) Turkish Airlines announced an order for 5 A 333s + 2 A 332s + 1 B 773ER (4th aircraft to be leased from 9W).

c) Paramount Airlines of India announced a MOU for 20 A 321s.

d) China Eastern Airlines announced an order for 20 Airbus A 320s.

e) Wizz Air, a low cost airline based in Central Europe signed an order for 50 A 320s.

f) Air Asia X, the long haul division of Air Asia placed an order for 10 A 359s + 5 options.

g) Vietnam Airlines placed an order for 16 A 321s and signed a MOU for 2 additional A 359s.

h) KLM placed an order for 7 ERJ 190s.


One wonders on what routes TK plans on using its A 333s on as it will have within 6 years time a wide bodied fleet consisting of 2 engined aircraft only i.e. B 77Ws + A 333s + A 332s as one expects their A 343s to be retired within 4-5 years time max. The only routes that TK would likely use the A 333 to are LHR, FRA, BKK and CDG. TK too is embarking on a study to see whether or not it would be feasible to introduce a premium economy cabin on board its A 330 and B 77W fleet.

With regards to the QR order, they have also revealed that all their A 320s from this winter onwards will be gradually getting tv's installed on all seats in business and economy class to help improve its overall in-flight product on these narrow body aircraft. Industry insiders believe that this significant order for 20 A 320s has been placed with a clear intention to possibly launch a low cost carrier from its DOH hub to regional destinations but with offering a better 'value for money' product compared to its rivals such as Bahrain Air, Al Jazeera Airways, Air Arabia and Fly Dubai.

As far as the Paramount order is concerned, it is very pleasing to see an Indian carrier take a cautious approach for its international expansion plans and not order wide bodied aircraft just for prestige and status symbol purposes which many Indian carriers did at the 2005 Paris Air Show. The A 321s ordered by Paramount are ideal aircraft to be configured in a 2 class configuration to be used on high density domestic flights to BOM and DEL as well as high density international flights to CMB, SIN, KUL, DXB, AUH, MCT and KWI all flown from its MAA hub.

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