By Anshuman Daga and Tim Hepher
SINGAPORE/PARIS Jan 28 Vietnamese carrier
VietJetAir said it would finalise a $9 billion order for up to
92 Airbus aircraft next month as it seeks to tap into
Southeast Asia's fast growing low-cost market dominated by
AirAsia Bhd and Lion Air.
In September, privately owned VietJetAir and Airbus agreed a
provisional order for mostly A320 planes, but the deal did not
show up on the order book of Airbus in its 2013 data.
"VietJetAir will sign a purchasing agreement with Airbus in
Singapore next month to buy 92 aircraft," said Luu Duc Khanh,
VietJetAir's managing director, confirming an earlier Reuters
"Signing the MOU last year was our initial step and this is
a next step to make our development plan comes true," he told
A firm order is seen as a strong indication of future
revenue for airplane manufacturers and triggers a deposit from
airlines. Airlines mainly pay for aircraft when they take
delivery and usually win significant discounts for large orders.
The latest deal worth $9 billion at list prices, includes
firm orders for 62 medium-haul jets as well as options for 30
more. VietJetAir, an existing A320 operator, has said it also
plans to lease eight more Airbus planes.
Vietnam's fledgling airline industry is poised to boom as
local competition heats up with fleet expansions, new routes and
planned share offerings that are set to make it one of the
world's three fastest-growing markets. State-run flag carrier
Vietnam Airlines dominates the local market.
An Airbus spokesman in Singapore said: "We don't comment on
discussions that may or may not be taking place with customers
or reports of potential announcements."
VietJetAir, which has been flying since December 2011,
offers domestic flights and also flies to Bangkok. It has
ambitious plans to develop into a regional airline, taking
advantage of a boom in regional air travel.
Malaysia's AirAsia Bhd and Indonesia's Lion Air have
similarly announced bold plans to expand their fleets and have
captured market share from full service airlines.
A source familiar with the situation said the
Airbus-VietJetAir deal would be one of the big orders to come
out of the Singapore Airshow which starts on Feb. 9.
The aircraft will be delivered in phases over 10-12 years,
with VietJetAir set to take delivery of the first few aircraft
in the last quarter of this year, the source said.
The source did not wish to be identified as he was not
authorised to speak to the media.