South Korean start-up KAIR Airlines has placed a firm order for eight Airbus A320ceos. The new low-cost carrier is based in Cheongju and will operate international services throughout North East Asia.
“We see enormous potential for the development of a low-cost model linking central South Korea with destinations in China, Taiwan and Japan”, said Byung Ho Kang, KAIR Airlines Representative Director and Chairman. “KAIR Airlines will focus on point-to-point services at low fares while offering passengers a modern and fun product offering. Brand new A320 aircraft will be perfect for our business model and customers, combining the lowest operating costs with the widest cabin in the single aisle segment.”
John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers, said: “We have been impressed by the business model developed by KAIR Airlines. We are confident that the efficiencies offered by the A320 will contribute to a successful launch by KAIR Airlines, bringing more choice for passengers flying in the North East Asian region. The selection of the A320 by KAIR Airlines underscores once again the position of the Airbus single aisle product line as the preferred choice for low cost airlines in Asia.”
Airbus has completed the handover of the first A321 to Iran Air. The historic moment came in Toulouse on January 11 and is the first airframe from a 100-strong order placed by the carrier in December. The aircraft is registered EP-IFA (c/n 7418) and is configured with 12 seats in Business Class and 182 in Economy.
“This significant milestone marks the first practical step in Iran Air’s ambitious passenger aircraft fleet renewal and its stronger presence in international civil aviation. Iranian travellers can be proud with our selection of the world’s most modern single-aisle aircraft,” said Farhad Parvaresh, Iran Air Chairman and CEO. “Iran Air is delighted with this first Airbus delivery and congratulates everyone involved who made it possible. Today signals that with international collaboration and co-operation, we can achieve mutually beneficial commercial goals.”
Fabrice Bregier, President, Airbus Commercial Aircraft and Chief Operating Officer Airbus, stated: “Today is a momentous occasion and I congratulate Iran Air on taking delivery of its first new aircraft in many years. As we take these first steps together, we stand ready to support the development and modernisation of Iran Air. Clearly in a country of 80 million people, there is a need for the latest passenger aircraft to meet domestic as well as international demand.”
Iran Air’s deal includes 46 A320 Family jets, 16 A350s and 38 A330 Family aircraft. Airbus’ COO – Customers, John Leahy revealed that two of the A330s are aircraft that were built for another customer but which never entered commercial service.
Airbus reiterated the delivery complies with all relevant international laws. The Toulouse-based manufacturer says it coordinated closely with regulators in the EU, US and elsewhere to ensure understanding and full compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPA).
Mumbai-based GoAir has firmed up an order for 72 Airbus A320neos, taking its firm commitments for the type to 144.
The deal was finalised on December 30 and comes on the back of an MOU signed during last year’s Farnborough International Airshow.
The low-cost carrier took delivery of its first A320neo in June and now has four in service.
“The A320neo provides the latest technical innovations and unbeatable economics. We are happy to offer our passengers the most modern and comfortable cabins. This new order will further strengthen our network by adding more domestic and international routes in the years to come,” said GoAir Managing Director & CEO, Wolfgang Prock-Schauer.
GoAir was the first carrier to operate the A320neo in the Spaceflex configuration with 186 seats.
Airbus Commercial Aircraft COO – Customers John Leahy, said: “We are delighted that GoAir has renewed its confidence in Airbus. By doubling its order to 144 aircraft, GoAir will benefit from a greatly expanded network.”
Kazakh flag carrier Air Astana has taken delivery of its first Airbus A320neo at a special ceremony at the manufacturer’s Toulouse facility.
The jet, registered P4-KBH (c/n 7124) and leased from Air Lease Corporation, is the first of 11 A320neo Family aircraft the airline ordered at the Farnborough Airshow in 2015. It is configured in a two-class layout, with 16 Business Class seats and 132 in Economy. Air Astana already operates a fleet of 13 A320ceo Family aircraft, with the neo joining them on the carrier’s domestic and international network.
“The A320 Family has proven to be a success in service with Air Astana over the past ten years, for its passenger appeal, low operating costs and reliability” said Peter Foster, President and CEO, of Air Astana. “The A320neo Family offers significant improvements to passenger comfort, fuel efficiency and operating capability, particularly on longer range routes to Asia and Europe.”
John Leahy Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers, added: “We congratulate Air Astana on their first A320neo delivery. Becoming the first operator of the world’s most advanced single-aisle aircraft in the CIS. The airline will not only benefit from the commonality with their existing A320 Family fleet but also from its unprecedented passenger comfort and fuel efficiency.”
Airbus has won a firm order from Cebu Pacific for two A330-300s. The Manila-based carrier currently operates a fleet of six A330s on long haul flights to the Middle East and Australia, as well as on domestic and regional routes.
“The A330 has proven to be the right choice for our long haul low fare product,” said Lance Gokongwei, Cebu Pacific President and Chief Executive Officer. “The newly ordered aircraft will enable us to add more long haul routes, including the launch of our first flights to the US. We are excited to be expanding our widebody fleet, offering more low fare options for our customers to fly further than ever before.”
John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer Customers, added: “This order from Cebu Pacific is another endorsement of the unrivalled efficiency of the A330 for profitable long haul low-cost services. Combining low operating costs, proven reliability and a great passenger experience, the A330 is the clear preferred choice of airlines in this competitive market segment. We are looking forward to working with Cebu Pacific as it grows its long haul services and flies to more destinations across the world.”
Las Vegas-based budget carrier Allegiant Travel Company has signed a firm purchase contract for 12 Airbus A320ceos. The deal is the first time Allegiant has purchased new aircraft direct from a manufacturer.
“Allegiant offers travellers convenient, affordable nonstop service enabling them to more easily enjoy their favourite vacation destinations,” said Maury Gallagher, Chairman and CEO of Allegiant Travel Company. “As we continue to transition to an all-Airbus fleet, this purchase will allow us to accelerate that process, reduce complexity in our fleet and provide our passengers with an ever-improving experience.”
The new jets, which will be powered by CFM International’s CFM56 engines, will join Allegiant’s current fleet of 15 A319ceos and 16 A320ceos.
“We love it when we hear the Allegiant team say that ‘Airbus is our future’, because that demonstrates they are hitting their bottom-line goals while also satisfying their passengers, and they know it’s because of the Airbus A320 Family,” said John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer – Customers. “The A320 offers wider and more comfortable 18” seats, wider aisles for faster boarding and more on-board storage space for today’s larger carry-ons. Low-cost carriers come back to the A320 Family again and again because it offers optimum performance from all perspectives. When an airline grows its A320 fleet, it’s making a sound investment in its financial future.”
Vietnamese low-cost carrier Jetstar Pacific Airlines has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Airbus for ten A320ceos. The agreement was announced during the Farnborough International Airshow and is the airline’s first direct purchase with the Toulouse-based manufacturer.
Jetstar Pacific currently operates a fleet of 12 leased A320 Family aircraft across a network of 28 domestic and regional destinations.
“This agreement marks a milestone in our development,” said Le Hong Ha, Chief Executive Officer of Jetstar Pacific. “The new aircraft will allow us to expand our operation on our international network from Vietnam as part of the wider Jetstar Group. With low operating costs and a comfortable cabin, the A320 enables us to offer our passengers a quality value-based product in a highly competitive market environment.”
John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer Customers, enthused: “We are pleased to have signed our first MOU with Jetstar Pacific. The news reinforces the position of the A320 as the single aisle aircraft of choice in both the low-cost and full service sectors. We will look forward to working with Jetstar Pacific as it consolidates its position in the fast-growing Vietnamese market.”
Low-cost carrier VietJetAir remains committed to Airbus despite its recent deal with bitter rival Boeing, according to the European manufacturer’s Chief Operating Officer – Customers, John Leahy.
Boeing and VietJetAir – currently an all-Airbus operator – announced a surprise deal for 100 737 MAX 200s on May 23, during an official state visit to Vietnam by US President Barack Obama.
“We were disappointed in VietJet[Air],” Leahy told Airliner World during the recent Airbus Innovation Days 2016 event at the company’s Hamburg/Finkenwerder site. “There was clearly some political implication. They did get a very, very, very good price from Boeing on that package. We chose not to go after Boeing on the pricing.”
Leahy said he had spoken to VietJetAir and was reassured the airline is committed to its outstanding orders with Airbus. At the end of April, the carrier had a fleet of 27 A320ceos and five A321ceos, with two A320ceos, 19 A321ceos, 42 A320neos and 21 A321neos on order.
“We wanted to know what VietJet[Air]’s plans were,” explained Leahy. “They said ‘no, we’re staying with Airbus – we have the right with Boeing to lease these aircraft out’, so we will see. They have assured us they have absolutely no intention of replacing Airbus airplanes with Boeing airplanes.”