Thu, Feb 16, 2012 - Page 12 News List

TransAsia inks engine agreement

GREENER PLANES:The Pratt & Whitney engines could help its A321 planes benefit from a 15 percent reduction in fuel burn, cutting operating costs

By Amy Su  /  Staff Reporter, in SINGAPORE

TransAsia Airways Corp chairman Vincent Lin, second left, poses with Pratt & Whitney chief executive David Hess, second right, and others after signing a purchase agreement for engines in Singapore yesterday.

Photo: CNA

TransAsia Airways Corp (復興航空), one of the nation’s leading international air carriers, yesterday signed a US$300 million agreement with United Technologies Corp unit Pratt & Whitney, one of the major players in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines, to purchase 27 engines for its 12 new Airbus A321neo aircraft.

The Taiwanese carrier also inked a deal with International Aero Engines AG, a subsidiary of Pratt & Whitney, to buy another 12 engines for the other six A321 aircraft it ordered last year.

The delivery of the engines in the two deals is scheduled to start in 2017, TransAsia said in a statement.

“We have adequate funding to pay for the engines without having to resort to borrowing,” TransAsia chairman Vincent Lin (林明昇) told a press briefing after the signing ceremony held at the Singapore Airshow. “We are very excited to be one step closer to delivery.”

The engines TransAsia has purchased from Pratt & Whitney could help its A321neo planes benefit from 15 percent reductions in fuel burn compared with regular engines, further driving down environmental emissions, engine noise and the company’s operating costs, Lin said.

The agreement signed with Pratt & Whitney also included a 10-year maintenance deal for the planes, with the company promising to train TransAsia’s maintenance group to help the Taiwanese carrier offer the safest service possible.

This facilitates TransAsia’s plan to operate its own maintenance hangar at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Lin said.

However, Lin said he could not specify the exact time frame for the opening of the hangar, as he has no idea on how long it would take the airport to hand over the designated land to TransAsia, or even if the airport would approve the plan.

“Once the airport decides to allocate the land to us, we will be able to launch the project within a year,” Lin said.

Currently, the carrier has orders for 20 new planes, on top of the 18-plane fleet it has in operation. Other than the 18 A321 series aircraft, there are two A330-300 planes still to be delivered, with the first due in November.

The orders reflect TransAsia’s plan to fly to all major Asian cities within a nine-hour radius of Taiwan over the next five years, Lin said, adding that the destinations are expected to include cities in Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East.

“I expect the regional destinations covered by TransAsia to double from the current 20,” Lin said.

Lin said the number of seats on TransAsia flights would grow by about 20 percent year-on-year, until the carrier owns enough aircraft to reach its goal.

TransAsia posted NT$629.33 million (US$21.3 million) in net profit, or NT$1.31 in earnings per share, in the first three quarters of last year, its biggest-ever profit.

TransAsia shares rose 3.3 percent to close at NT$21.9 on the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday.

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