AIRCRAFT A350-900 ULR
DELIVERY DATE Expected 2018
WHY IS IT A LANDMARK ORDER? Airbus claims the ULR (ultra-long range) variant will be capable of flying for up to 19 hours as the aircraft will feature a modified fuel system that increases fuel carrying capacity, an increase in maximum take-off weight, and other aerodynamic improvements. The improvements could pave the way for SIA to relaunch the world’s longest non-stop flights, between Singapore and both Los Angeles and New York.
DELIVERY DATE TBC
HOW IS IT A LANDMARK ORDER? Announced earlier this month (see here), Eva Air has signed a letter of intent to purchase up to 24 B787-10. The airline’s first foray into the Dreamliner market will position the Star Alliance member among other quality carriers such as Singapore Airlines (launch customer), Etihad Airways and United Airlines. The B787-10 will also allow EVA Air to progressively retire its older aircraft – the carrier still operates nine A330-200 and these are expected to be replaced by newer aircraft in the coming years.
DELIVERY DATE 2017
HOW IS IT A LANDMARK ORDER? It’s safe to say that the financial woes of Malaysia Airlines (MAB) were partly due to inefficiencies of its fleet, with falling passenger loads and frequency adjustments compounding on the carrier’s growing list of problems. Following a heavy restructure, MAB signed a long-term lease agreement with Air Lease Corporation for four A350-900s. Given the aircraft’s excellent fuel efficiency, the lease makes financial sense for MAB as it seeks to reduce costs and improve efficiency. It appears likely that the A350-900 will lead to the gradual retirement of the B777-200ER, given their capacity similarities. Furthermore, the superior range offered by the A350 will allow it to operate long-haul routes with greater efficiency.
DELIVERY DATE 2019
HOW IS IT A LANKMARK ORDER? While previously offering an all-Boeing narrowbody fleet, Korean Air signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Airbus for 50 A321neo aircraft, becoming a new customer for the best-selling single aisle A320 Family. The neo (new engine option) delivers superior efficiency compared to the current engine option, and includes improvements such as aerodynamic refinements, curved sharklets, weight savings and improved cabin storage areas. Korean Air will operate the A321neo with a two-class full service layout on regional services, including on longer sectors to selected destinations in South East Asia.
DELIVERY DATE 2016
HOW IS IT A LANDMARK ORDER? Following outstanding growth over the last year, a fleet expansion for HK Express is only natural. The low-cost carrier expects to take delivery of the new A320neo in the second half of 2016. It will configure the aircraft with a single class configuration that offers 188 seats – just one short of the maximum capacity of the aircraft. With more fuel-efficient engines and larger storage compartments compared to the A320, the A320neo is well suited for a low-cost product offering.