Seen here in a photo from September 2013 is a shot of the first Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER to be configured with its all-new interior at the gate at Boeing's Everett Delivery Center. (Photo: Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY)
Singapore Airlines agreed to a firm order for 39 widebody jets from Boeing in a deal that would help the carrier expand and update its fleet.
The deal – for 20 Boeing 777-9s and 19 787-10 “Dreamliners" – would be valued at $13.8 billion at list prices, though big carriers typically negotiate substantial discounts on such orders.
The order is Singapore Airlines’ first for Boeing’s newest and largest 777 variant, the 777-9 that is expected to begin flying later this decade. The order for the 19 787-10 Dreamliners – also Boeing’s latest and biggest variant of that aircraft – are on top of 30 that Singapore has already made for the jet.
Singapore Airlines is regarded as one of the world’s most luxurious carriers, frequently winning accolades for its high-end service. The carrier has specialized in long-distance flying, flying many long-haul and ultra-long haul routes from its hub in Southeast Asia. The airline said the new widebody, long-haul jets would be used both for expansion and to help it replace older aircraft retiring from its fleet.
ARCHIVES: Singapore Airlines takes delivery of luxurious new 777 (2013)
“Today’s major order for widebody aircraft enables us to continue operating a modern and fuel-efficient fleet, providing the SIA Group with additional expansion opportunities to ensure that we retain our industry-leading position,” Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong said in a statement. “This order is also another demonstration of our commitment to further growing the Singapore hub, as we will be able to offer even more travel options for our customers.”
The aircraft detail in Thursday’s announcement will begin arriving to the carrier as early as 2020.
The Singapore order is a score for Boeing, which is battling against Airbus’ new A350 and revamped A330 in the market for widebody jets.
Bloomberg News adds more perspective, writing “the new deal would provide a critical boost to two high-profile Boeing products amid a tough market for twin-aisle jets. The Chicago-based company has been working hard to land sales of its upgraded 777X family after twice announcing it would cut output of current models. The new aircraft will replace some of Singapore Air’s aging Boeing planes such as the 777-300ER, while giving the carrier’s low-cost units rights to jets not yet on the market.”
Further, Reuters writes the Singapore deal “leaves a question mark over Airbus proposals to develop a larger 400-seat version of its A350 passenger jet to compete with the 406-seat Boeing 777-9.”
Singapore Airlines had been viewed as a potential launch customer for such an Airbus product, “but the European planemaker last year postponed a decision on whether to launch the new project amid pressure on demand for wide-body jets,” Reuters adds. “The fact Airbus was not yet ready to make a definitive offer to supply the new plane, relying instead on the 366-seat A350-1000, may have been a handicap in the contest for Singapore's business, an industry source said” in reference to Singapore’s Thursday agreement with Boeing.
Singapore has otherwise been a strong customer for Airbus' A350. It has ordered 67 of Airbus A350-900 jets, including a new "ultra long-haul" (ULR) version expected to begin flying next year. Singapore, which would be the launch customer for that variant of the A350, has said it intends to use the ULR version to resume nonstop flights between Singapore and New York, a route that would become the world's longest.
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