Airbus A330neo, launched on Monday at the Farnborough Air Show, is gaining further traction in the marketplace. Following Air Lease Corporation (ALC), Air Asia X and two additional leasing companies have signed up for the new widebody. Air Asia X, Avolon and CIT Group signed memoranda of understanding for a total of 80 aircraft on Tuesday taking commitments for the aircraft to a total of 105.The new
Air Asia X has been a driving force in the airline industry pushing Airbus for years to go ahead with the reengining of the. “We have been encouraging Airbus to launch this new version of the A330 for some time now, Air Asia X Co-founder Tony Fernandes said. “We are 100% sure that the A330neo will be quite unbeatable in its size category.”
Air Asia’s decision is of particular importance to Airbus because it signals the A330neo could become an important player in the emerging long-haul low-cost sector that more and more airlines are embracing. Followingwith its Jetstar unit, has announced plans to launch its own long-haul low-cost affiliate next year based initially on A330s or .
Air Asia last year ordered an additional 20 A330-300s last year and now has firm orders for 51. The airline operates 20 aircraft now, including leased units. The airline plans to take delivery of its first A330neo in 2018.
The CIT order was for 15 A330-900neos, the successor of the current A330-300. Avolon did not specify which versions it is going to take. It also committed to 15 aircraft.
“The sweet spot (for the A330neo) is Asia,” Domhnal Slattery, Avolon’s CEO, said. He believes that the average range required for widebodies will come down over time. He sees a potential market for around 4,000 aircraft in that segment over the next 20 years and antipates that the A330neo could take 25-35% of that. Avolon has also ordered the Boeing 787-9, but says that it is an aircraft for a different market niche requiring longer ranges.
Robert Martin, CEO of BOC Aviation and a large A330 customer, said that “the time is right (for the A330neo) and it should not be delayed. It should come now.” He believes that the traffic flows particularly in Asia will require large capacity aircraft that are optimized for shorter ranges. Martin also stressed that he is happy with only having one engine supplier on the A330neo (Rolls-Royce). “As a lessor I much prefer one engine type, you don’t have a split market.”
ALC had voiced concerns over the single source arrangement in the past, but eventually placed the first A330neo order.
Airbus plans to introduce the A330-900neo in the fourth quarter of 2017. The smaller A330-800neo is to follow a few months later.