March 2006 
Volume 04, Issue 10 
Industry Wrap

Europe mulls long-haul airplane buys

Major European airlines with long-haul routes are evaluating options on replacing their wide-body jetliners and could reach decisions as soon as sometime this year.

In recent months, long-haul airlines in Asia and the Middle East, including Emirates, Qantas and Cathay Pacific, announced purchasing decisions. According to a report in Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine, Europe 's biggest long-haul airlines—Lufthansa, Air France and British Airways—could be following their lead:

  • Lufthansa last month formally released a request for proposals for new long-haul airplanes, Aviation Week said, adding that the carrier will make its selection this year. Lufthansa will take delivery of seven A340-600s through March 2007 and add four A380s in 2008.
  • British Airways also is expected to make a decision this year on replacing its long-haul fleet, the magazine said. According to Aviation Week, Willie Walsh, the airline's CEO, said that no decisions have been made.
  • Air France–KLM CEO Jean-Cyril Spinetta said the carrier isn't looking to add more airplanes for several years. However, according to Aviation Week, industry officials expect Air France to make a decision next year between the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350, in part because production slots are filling up.

Among the airplanes that could be involved in these decisions are those in the Boeing 747, 777 and 787 families. Industry observers generally agreed that Boeing fared exceptionally well in the higher-revenue twin-aisle jetliner market last year. Case in point: In 2005, Airbus had 15 orders for its A340 models, while Boeing received 153 gross orders for 777-family airplanes.


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