Airbus signs 20-plane VietJet deal for narrow-body

Photo: Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury and VietJet’s President and CEO Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao co-sign the deal for the A320neo Family jets.

* $2.8-billion contract is for A321XLR aircraft deliveries beginning 2023
* Two more A320/A321 flight simulators for the aviation academy

New Delhi: European aerospace major Airbus SE won a 20-plane order from Vietnam’s VietJet Aviation JSC for the A320neo narrow-body aircraft valued at $2.8 billion at list price, even as Boeing Co.’s grounded 737 Max deliveries to the South East Asian nation’s airlines are delayed.

VietJet said in a statement today that it signed the deal for the A321XLR extra long-range variant of the Airbus’ work-horse aircraft on Oct. 31 for deliveries envisaged from 2023. The deal would make VietJet one of the first carriers globally to operate the model unveiled at the Paris Air Show in June. With this latest contract, Vietjet’s total order book with Airbus reached 186 aircraft.

The contract is a win for Airbus over Boeing, which is struggling to get the 737 Max flying again following its ground over two successive fatal crashes within a span of five months. VietJet has placed orders for 200 of the Boeing’s plane, four of which were to be delivered this year.

Airbus on Oct. 29 landed one of its largest-ever deals with the sale of 300 narrow-bodied planes from its stable to Indian budget carrier IndiGo, an order worth at least $33 billion.

The current VietJet’s purchase was already on Airbus’ order books, including five converted from the standard A321neo. Airbus also signed an agreement with the Vietnamese aviation firm for two additional A320/311 simulators for pilots and technician training, increasing the number of simulators at the VietJet Aviation Academy to three and training capacity at the facility.

File Photo: Vietjet’s Airbus A320neo Family jet. Courtesy: Airbus SE.

With a range of up to 8,700km, the A321XLR jets will serve Vietjet’s fleet of international flight network expansion plans in the near future, the company said. The new fleet will also help the Asian carrier to compete with the state-run Vietnam Airlines JSC and the new entrant in the market Bamboo Airways, owned by the hotel and leisure company FLC Group JSC.

Vietjet President and Chief Executive Officer Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao and Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury co-signed the important contract during Thao’s and other Vietjet’s leadership’s official visit to Europe.

Vietjet operates the world’s youngest Airbus fleet with an average age of only 2.7 years and the new A321XLR will be an upgrade to comprehensively modernize fleet as the company looks to strongly grow the international flight network, Thao said after the deal signing.

From 2023, the A321XLR will deliver an unprecedented Xtra Long Range of up to 4,700 nm (8,704 km) — 15 per cent more than the A321LR — and with 30 per cent lower fuel burn per seat compared with previous-generation aircraft.

“This order is another strong endorsement of our decision to bring true long-range capability to the single aisle market with the A321XLR, enabling airlines to extend their networks at the lowest possible cost. Furthermore, we are also pleased to further develop our collaboration with Vietjet in the area of training,” Faury said.

As part of the deals for the new aircraft and simulators, Airbus Services also provides training solutions to ensure safe, reliable and economically efficient operations on all Airbus aircraft throughout their lifecycle. The aircraft manufacturer is also on-hand to offer support at every step of the way with a comprehensive and tailored training portfolio designed and developed by Airbus for Vietjet’s pilots, cadets, cabin crews, performance and operations engineers, maintenance personnel and structure and repair specialists.

NOTE: Vietnam-based VietJet provides transport services but also uses the latest e-commerce technologies to offer various products and services for consumers. VietJet is a fully-fledged member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) with the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certificate. Currently, VietJet operates around 400 flights daily, carrying more than 90 million passengers to date, with 129 routes covering destinations across Vietnam and international destinations in countries such as Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, China, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, India and Cambodia.

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