China’s three state-owned carriers—Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines—will acquire a combined 292 Airbus A320neo narrowbody aircraft, in a deal estimated to be worth $37.1 billion at list prices. Air China signed for 64 A320neos plus another 32 for subsidiary Shenzhen Airlines, also worth a total of $12.3 billion. Air China’s A320neos will be delivered between 2023 and 2027, while Shenzhen’s will arrive in 2024-26. China Eastern will buy 100 A320neos, worth $12.7 billion, of which 28 will be delivered in 2024, 31 in 2025, 34 in 2026 and seven in 2027. The carrier said that during the delivery period, 68 older A320s will be withdrawn from service either due to lease expirations or old age. China Southern signed a purchase agreement for 96 A320neos, worth CNY81.9 billion ($12.3 billion). The airline plans to take delivery of 30 in 2024, 40 in 2025, 19 in 2026 and the remaining seven in 2027.
IAG converts options to firm orders
International Airlines Group (IAG) plans to convert aircraft options announced almost a decade ago into firm orders, as it upgrades its component airlines’ fleets. Member airlines are are Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, Level and Vueling. IAG is converting options for 14 Airbus A320neo-family aircraft into firm orders for 11 A320neos and three A321neos. The options were originally announced in August 2013. Deliveries of aircraft in the latest batch of option conversions are expected in 2024 and 2025. They will be used to replace A320ceo-family aircraft in the short-haul fleets. The precise split of aircraft to particular airlines was not announced.
Silk Way West buys two A350Fs
Cargo specialist Silk Way West Airlines has signed a purchase agreement with Airbus for two A350 freighters. The agreement includes an option for a further two examples of the European manufacturer’s freighter. The first two aircraft are scheduled for delivery in 2027-28. Airbus said June 28 that the new aircraft would be used to modernize and further grow the airline’s fleet.
Norwegian MAX deal moves forward
LCC Norwegian firmed its previously announced letter of intent with Boeing for 50 737-8s, the airline announced June 23. Norwegian and Boeing announced initial plans for the deal in late May, together with an option for a further 30 aircraft of the same type. As part of the agreement, Norwegian and Boeing have agreed to settle all outstanding legal disputes between them. The new aircraft are scheduled to be delivered between 2025-2028, on a schedule that will closely correspond to the expiration of leases on current aircraft in Norwegian’s fleet. The new order will result in what the airline calls “a limited net increase of the company’s current fleet.” A majority of Norwegian’s fleet consists of previous-generation 737-800s.
EasyJet firms options on 56 A320neo family aircraft
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UK LCC easyJet is looking to exercise purchase rights and options on 56 Airbus A320neo-family aircraft and convert orders for 18 A320neos to the larger A321neo, under a proposal valued at $6.5 billion at list prices. Announcing the plan on June 21, easyJet said the additional aircraft will be delivered between fiscal 2026 and fiscal 2029, substantially completing its 2013 aircraft-purchase agreement with Airbus. The 18 upgauged A321neos will arrive between fiscal 2024 and fiscal 2027.
Icelandair inks LOI for four more MAXs
Icelandair has entered into a letter of intent (LOI) for the purchase of four additional Boeing 737 MAXs. The aircraft were built in 2018 and are scheduled to be delivered in fall 2022. The transaction, when completed, will bring the total number of 737 MAX in the Icelandair fleet up to 18 aircraft, a mix of 737-8s and the larger variant 737-9.
Vietjet firms order for 200 MAX aircraft
Vietjet Air confirmed that it will follow through with its order for 200 Boeing 737 MAX family aircraft, which the LCC had put on hold after the grounding of the type in 2019.
Ethiopian Airlines orders five Boeing 777Fs
Ethiopian Airlines will further expand its all-Boeing freighter fleet with an order for five 777 freighters. Ethiopian Group CEO Mesfin Tasew said the new freighters will enable the carrier to meet growing cargo demand.
IAG orders 50 737 MAX aircraft, with 100 options
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International Airlines Group (IAG) has placed an order for 50 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and secured options for a further 100, providing a boost to the OEM. The order finalizes a letter of intent (LOI) signed at the 2019 edition of Paris Air Show that had been for 200 of the family.
EVA Air Cargo to purchase 777F
The board of EVA Air approved the purchase of another Boeing 777F for delivery in late 2023. The purchase comes less than two months after the Taiwanese carrier contracted Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to convert three of its 777-300ER passenger aircraft into freighters. Together the moves will see the EVA Air Cargo fleet rise from the current eight aircraft—all 777Fs—to 12 by 2025. Management sees the 50% capacity increase as proportionate to projected demand.
Lufthansa orders more Boeing aircraft
Lufthansa plans to order an additional 10 Boeing widebody freighters for its subsidiary Lufthansa Cargo and is also adding to its 787-9 orderbook as the airline juggles the impact of the further delay in the 777-9 program. The airline committed to three additional 777Fs, two of which will be newly built aircraft. One is a used aircraft. The carrier is also becoming the latest customer for the recently launched 777-8Fs, of which it will take seven. They will provide opportunities for growth, and later replacement if needed, in a booming cargo market. Lufthansa Cargo currently has a fleet of eleven 777Fs. Its joint venture with DHL, Aerologic, operates a further 20 777Fs.
As the aviation industry deals with the ups and downs of the industry over the past few years, airlines are slowly investing in new aircraft even as OEMs continue to deal with the frustration of supplier and production delays. Here’s a look at some of the latest deals.
Linda Blachly is Senior Associate Editor for Air Transport World and Aviation Week. She joined the company in July 2010 and is responsible for producing features for Air Transport World’s monthly magazine and engaging content for the aviationweek.com. She is based in the Washington DC office.