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Company Watch - Airbus.

Aug 20, 2007

Airblue of Pakistan plans to buy somewhere between eight and 14 aircraft either from the Boeing 737 NG family or the A320 family of Airbus. A deal, which could be announced in time for the Dubai Air Show in October, could be worth USD$400 million - USD$700 million. Delivery would start in 2009 and Airblue would take one plane approximately every three months. A senior Airblue official, who asked not to be named, said the airline would most likely choose the Airbus A320. "We already operate these aircraft and have a comfort level with them. So it suits us to have more of the same family." Airblue currently operates six A320s and has another two on order. Aug 17, 2007

Airblue, Pakistan's biggest private airline, plans to spend up to USD$700 million over the next five years on new aircraft as it replaces its existing fleet of leased planes. Chief Operating Officer Shahid Khaqan Abbasi also said Airblue, which competes with state-run Pakistan International Airlines on several domestic routes, was considering a stock market listing. Abbasi said the airline was in talks with both Airbus and Boeing for the purchase of up to 14 short-to-medium haul aircraft. Aug 17, 2007

Airblue, which started operations in June 2004, also flies to Dubai and Manchester, and plans to expand its international routes. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank's private sector arm, has agreed to provide financing worth USD$25 million for pre-delivery payments, and Airblue plans to get an ECA (Export Credit Agency) credit to fund the purchase of its aircraft announced at the Paris Air Show last June. Aug 17, 2007

Airbus appeared to underestimate the potential of the 787 at first and made a couple of false starts in determining how to respond to the Boeing challenge in the mid-size market, says the report. The European manufacturer also ran into significant schedule delay with its 525-passenger A380. However, Airbus is well on its way to resolving the A380 program, with the first commercial flight set for October 15 on the Singapore-Sydney route, while the all-new A350 XWB is designed to take on not only the 787, but the 777 as well. Aug 17, 2007

Pakistan's private airline Airblue plans to buy between eight and 14 new passenger jets, with the company choosing between Airbus A320s or new generation Boeing 737s, the airline said Thursday. Aug 17, 2007

Two commercial jets, including one Northwest Airbus, nearly collided on the tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport Thursday Aug 16, 2007

Airbus and Boeing, with their new widebodies in production, are turning their attention to new products for the narrowbody market, representing over 10,000 jets for the next 20 year, to replace the Airbus A320 family and the Boeing 737 series respectively. Aug 17, 2007

Boeing will hold the lead in large commercial jets over the next decade, according to a new report, but Airbus will remain a strong competitor as the market remains a two horse race. A report from market research firm Forecast International predicts that 9,528 large commercial jet transports, valued at some $986 billion, will be produced between 2007 and 2016. The firm projects that Boeing will build nearly 56 per cent of these aircraft, while Airbus will build 43 per cent. A handful of Russian and Ukrainian companies are expected to account for the remaining 1 percent. Aug 17, 2007

The competition between Airbus and Boeing comes in the light of improving financial conditions for the airline industry in general. US airlines are expected to finally turn a profit in 2007, while European and Asian carriers have been profitable for a few years. However, air traffic growth is slowing somewhat, leading to concerns about future overcapacity which will force airlines to control their fleet growth. Aug 17, 2007

Etihad Airways of Abu Dhabi said on Tuesday it had bought an Airbus A320 and leased two others, adding the first narrow-bodied aircraft to its fleet as it expands its regional flights. The three A320s will be added to its fleet in September and October, while three more of the aircraft would be added in the first quarter of 2008, Etihad said in a statement, without giving further details. Etihad bought one Airbus A320 aircraft from US-based KJ Aviation Services and leased two from Air Malta, a company spokesman said. The first narrow-bodied aircraft will fly from Abu Dhabi to Tehran beginning September 1, 2007, Etihad said. Etihad has a fleet of 27 wide-bodied aircraft. It ordered 12 Airbus wide-bodied aircraft in June in a deal worth USD$2.4 billion. Aug 14, 2007

Kuwait Airways' orders up in the air. Kuwait Airways' planned $3 billion in orders for new planes may be blocked by members of parliament angry that the state-owned carrier didn't provide them enough information prior to inking deals with Boeing and Airbus. The order for 12 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and seven Airbus A320s requires parliamentary approval. Aug 14, 2007

Competition intensifies for refueling tanker contract. Competition for a $40 billion refueling tanker contract is heating up between Boeing and the partnership of Northrop Grumman and Airbus parent EADS. Boeing recently held a rally with lawmakers and employees, and many politicians from Alabama, where a Northrop tanker would be based, attended the Paris Air Show where the tankers were displayed. Both companies have sent out press releases touting their tankers. The Air Force is not expected to make a decision until December. Aug 15, 2007

Singapore Airlines have 19 firm orders for A380s and options for an additional six. The plane has a list price of USD$300 million but airlines are usually given deep discounts. An all-economy class Airbus A380 could seat 853 passengers, or 555 people in a three-class configuration, however, Singapore Airlines will equip the plane with 471 seats in three classes. Aug 17, 2007

Singapore Airlines will take delivery of the first Airbus A380, the world's biggest passenger plane, on October 15. Singapore Airlines said that it would pick up the superjumbo from Airbus in Toulouse and take it to Singapore to allow crew and ground staff familiarization with the plane before the first flight on October 25, from Singapore to Sydney, Australia. The plane will make its return flight the following day. The airline announced last month that tickets for the flight would be auctioned on eBay, between August 27 and September 10. with the proceeds going to charity. Aug 17, 2007

A cockpit recording of Airbus A320 TAM Linhas Aereas flight 3054 made public by the committee last week showed the pilots were aware of the disabled thrust reverser, but were unable to brake the aircraft. Aviation authorities are also looking at other possible causes of the accident, including the runway condition. Air travel in Brazil has been in chaos since 154 people were killed last September when a Boeing 737 clipped wings in midair with a private jet and crashed in the Amazon. Aug 13, 2007

The Airbus A320 airliner that crashed in Sao Paulo last month killing 199 people had shown no signs of mechanical or computer error, a company official told Brazil's Congress. The aircraft operated by Brazil's biggest carrier, TAM Linhas Aereas overshot a wet runway at Congonhas Airport, crashed into a cargo terminal and fuel station and exploded into a ball of fire. The same committee said last week, also citing data from the flight recorder, that an engine throttle in the wrong position was probably a major cause of Brazil's worst air accident. It was operating with only one of the thrust reversers, which are used to help brake the plane. But Malinge said it was "premature" to say the inoperative thrust reverser was to blame for the accident. Aug 13, 2007

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