News release from Boeing that I’ve copied here verbatim, because I’m starting to get tired of writing posts about more Boeing orders:


DUBAI, Nov. 21, 2005
— The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] and International Lease Finance Corp. (ILFC) today announced a firm order for 20 787 Dreamliners with four additional options. The order is valued at approximately $2.7 billion at list prices. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in January 2010.

ILFC is the first leasing company to be announced as a 787 customer. The airplanes were previously acknowledged on the Boeing Web site, attributed to an unidentified customer.

“The 787 will meet the demand we expect from our airline customers for the breakthrough passenger comforts and operating efficiencies of the Dreamliner,” said Steven F. Udvar-Hazy, chairman and chief executive officer – ILFC. “This also adds the newest member of the Boeing product line to our fleet, building on our nearly 30-year partnership with Boeing as the largest lessor of Boeing airplanes.”

ILFC has ordered 698 Boeing jets since 1977.

Nonetheless, congratulations to Boeing. This is going to make Airbus’ vow (see last post) even harder to meet.

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Just when the folks over in Chicago and Seattle couldn’t have thought it possible t get muchhappier after the big Emirates order (see last post), they can now. Eight Chinese airlines placed an order yesterday – when President Bush was in town – for 70 737-700s and -800s worth about $4 billion. They will be delievered between next year and 2008.

No specifics were given, but the planes will go to Air China, China Eastern, and China Southern. And it seems now that for the first time in five years, Boeing might outsell Airbus – it has 659 orders now compared to Airbus’ 494.

Boeing has traditionally been pretty strong in the Asia-Pacific market, even as Airbus has eroded its market share in other regions.

And President Bush has to be happy – he’s been doing a lot of complaining lately about the United States’ huge trade deficit with China. This order should help cut some of that.

Today Emirates, the national carrier of Dubai, announced that it will buy 42 Boeing 777s and has purchase rights on another 20. At catalog prices, Emirates will pay $9.7 billion dollars for the aircraft.

The first planes will ship in 2007, and will be 24 -300ERs, 10 -200LRs, and 8 freighters. Once all the orders are delivered, Emirates will operate a total of 51 777s – making it the worlds largest operator of the type. It also ordered the 777th 777 – the total ordered now stands at 779.

“We’re honored that Emirates’ has again chosen the 777 and will now use the entire 777 family as a cornerstone of its fleet operations,” said Alan Mulally, president and CEO of the Commercial Airplanes division, in his usual laudatory praise of the purchasing airline. “Emirates is renowned for its quality and excellence and we’re excited to see how the airline and its passengers will benefit from the superior economics, comfort and utility of the 777 models ordered today.”

On the other hand, Emirates is expected to order 50 A350s at the Dubai Air Show. More details when they become availiable.

Excerpts from an article by the AP:

SINGAPORE (AP) — Singapore Airlines on Friday dismissed talk of a potential merger with Qantas, saying the issue could only be considered if the Australian government allows greater competition on the prized trans-Pacific route to the United States.

On Thursday, Australian Prime Minister John Howard threw his weight behind the idea of a merger between two of Asia’s biggest — and most profitable — airlines after a meeting with counterpart Lee Hsien Loong on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in South Korea.

“This issue has already been discussed and debated extensively in recent months,” Singapore Airlines spokesman Stephen Forshaw said. “We’ve said all along that for mergers to happen, there needs to be considerable regulatory liberalization. It is an idea ahead of its time.”

Interesting. First of all, Singapore and Qantas both are bastions of their respective alliances – SQ is a big Star player, and Qantas was a founding member of oneworld. So if they did merge, which alliance would win out? The problem with this is that Qantas is partly owned by British Airways – another oneworld member. And Singapore owns 49% of Virgin Atlantic – BA’s archrival.

But the issue that’s the focus point isn’t alliances; it’s a route: Los Angeles – Sydney, which is only flown by United and Qantas as of now. According to the AP article, Qantas has about 75% of the market share on that route, which also constitutes 15% of its total profit. Singapore wants in on the route, so it can pick up passengers on the Singapore-Australia-Los Angeles circuit.

I believe that Singapore, which will only allow a merger if the Australian government is more allowing of competition on the trans-Pacific routes, is playing hard-to-get. If the Australian prime minister is backing the merger, then they will probably do some things to appease Singapore.

Both airlines are world-class nonetheless. Singapore is known for its fantastic service (think Raffles class) and Qantas is known for its profitability and safety record.

It seems that fellow blogger MD-11 has posted about the ‘Wheel of Bankruptcy’ and iAir. Well, it seems that United Airlines is actually getting closer and closer to leaving its notorious Chapter 11.

In another three weeks or so, United (which has lost $10 billion since 2000) will have been in Ch. 11 for three years. (Don’t forget to send a card.) Its CFO, Jack Brace, said that UAL is indeed ‘marching forward’ to its exit sometime early next year. Judge Wedoff, who oversees the case, has approved its final bankruptcy plan. Fuel costs are dropping, and the domestic routes are doing better.

It’s no surprise that United, which expects to return to ‘steady profitability’, is going to expand internationally. After all, that’s been the strategy of all the legacy carriers in the past few months.

With jetBlue’s expected announcement of launching Boston (BOS) to Dulles (IAD) service, this looks like it could be one of the final nails in the coffin for Independence Air (DH). So, when will the United States aviation industry spin the wheels of bankrupcy, I think that the next time will come up: Independence Air, Chapter 7 (Liquidiation). jetBlue and Airtran keep putting more nails in Independence Air’s coffin by launching more and more services to Dulles. The main problem with Independence Air is their selection to have their main hub at IAD. Who wants to fly domestic from IAD, when DCA is so close. Thier other problem is that they have such a large fleet of CRJ-200’s, which are not very profitable. They needed to be getting the A319’s faster than they were. It was good while it lasted, but I do not think that there is enough for domestic travel at Dulles, as most domestic flights at Dulles are connections from international flights. Because Independence Air does not fly over the Atlantic, which I am sure that they would do with their CRJ-200’s if they had the range, and they are not a member of any airline alliance for codeshares, they are likely getting a very small portion of the passengers connecting at Dullles who did not arrive on Independence Air.

Just my two cents…

~MD-11

It seems that Greek flag-carrier Olympic Airlines will be replaced by a new airline company with a different name. Olympic Airlines was created by the Greek government back in 2003 to replace the old Olympic – Olympic Airways. The government has tried time and time again to privatize it, and with the latest attempt unsuccessful, it seems that they’re going to shut it down and relaunch it.

Details are still sketchy, but the new entity will apparently have the word ‘Olympic’ in its new name. Some possibilities as of now are Olympic Air or Air Olympic.