Sun, Feb 26, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Asian Aerospace books US$15.2bn in deals

AFP , SINGAPORE

A technician crawls into a fan casing on a Trent 500 aeroplane engine at the Singapore Aero Engine Services Ltd (SAESL) overhaul facility during a tour in conjunction with the Asian Aerospace exhibition in Singapore on Thursday. The SAESL is one of the world's first facilities to handle the Trent 900 engine for the Airbus A380 aircraft, which will enter service with Singapore Airlines this year.

PHOTO: AP

Asian Aerospace, the world's third-largest air show, clinched a record US$15.2 billion in deals this week following a spate of aircraft orders geared to meet booming travel demand.

The order book included purchases of planes, helicopters, aircraft engines, simulators as well as avionics packages and contracts for maintenance, repair and overhaul, organizers said in a statement issued late on Friday.

It was more than four times the US$3.52 billion worth of contracts signed during the 2004 Asian Aerospace show.

"We are delighted at the levels of business announced at Asian Aerospace and the total of US$15.2 billion is way beyond our optimistic expectations," said Asian Aerospace 2006 president Ed Ng.

It was a roaring send-off for the biennial Asian Aerospace event, which was held in Singapore for the last time this year.

UK-based Reed Exhibitions, the event organizers, said Asian Aerospace will move to Hong Kong in 2007 following a disagreement with the Singapore government on the terms for developing a new site for the show.

Singapore will hold its own air show from 2008.

Indian carriers, seeking to satisfy soaring travel demand at home, stamped their class at the event -- held near Changi Airport -- with the most aircraft orders.

Indian Airlines placed an order for a total of 43 A320 and A319 planes from European giant Airbus worth US$2.5 billion, while another Indian carrier GO ordered 10 Airbus A320 family aircraft, estimated by AFP at US$640 million based on catalogue price.

Indian low-fare airline SpiceJet went for Boeing, ordering 10 B737 planes worth a total of US$700 million.

The Indian orders underscored the huge potential of the country, where analysts say as many people currently travel by train in one day as fly during an entire year.

International Air Transport Association director-general Giovanni Bisignani put the number of Indian air travellers at just 40 million or 4 percent of the population.

He said that if this rose to 25 percent, the Indian market would see 250 million air travellers.

At the show, US conglomerate Honeywell announced a deal worth up to US$4 billion to provide auxiliary power units for Airbus, the European aerospace giant dueling with US rival Boeing for regional and global dominance of the industry.

Honeywell's HGT1500 auxiliary power unit would be used in the new long-range widebody A350 aircraft, which is scheduled for launch in 2010 to compete with US manufacturer Boeing's 787 Dreamliner.

The US$4 billion value is estimated over the life of the program.

Korean Aerospace Industries also announced it had signed a US$1 billion contract with Airbus to jointly develop parts for the A350 commercial jet.

Under a memorandum of understanding, Airbus selected the Korean firm as a "risk sharing partner" in its A350 program. The deal covers wing and fuselage components.

Korea Aerospace also signed a separate US$80 million contract to supply fuselage panels for Airbus' A321 plane by 2010.

Asian Aerospace this year had 940 exhibitors from 43 countries and 153 delegations from 43 countries. There were also more than 34,300 trade participants from 89 countries.

The trade portion of the event began on Tuesday and ended on Friday. It was opened to the public during the weekend.

Airbus' A380 jumbo jet, the world's biggest passenger airliner, made its debut at Asian Aerospace with daily flying exhibitions.

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