Boeing and new European airline Volotea agree to leasing deal for 717s

The Boeing 717 will be the foundation for new European low-cost airline, Volotea, with a long-term lease deal announced today between The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA) and the airline’s management.

Volotea has taken delivery of its first 717-200 airplane from Boeing Capital Corporation, the manufacturers’ financing and leasing arm. The operator plans to begin its new European point-to-point service with an all-717 fleet in time for this year’s Easter travel season.

Under a multi-year arrangement, Boeing will begin additional deliveries year of the reliable and modern twinjet in March of this year. The number of aircraft involved in the arrangement was not disclosed.

In a comprehensive customer solution, Boeing Commercial Aviation Services will provide operational manuals and its Maintenance Performance Toolbox product.  In addition, pilot training will be conducted at Boeing training campuses, including in Stockholm, Sweden. Volotea will also have a Boeing Virtual Procedures Trainer (VPT) at its Barcelona facility, allowing greater scheduling flexibility while reducing pilot training cost.

“Volotea’s goal is to forge new and efficient air connections between Europe’s small and mid-sized cities currently not well served by direct flights. We see the 717’s capabilities as the best solution for us in filling this need, and we see the partnership with Boeing as the right one for our success,” said Carlos Munoz, Volotea’s founder and CEO.

The Boeing 717 has distinguished itself in service to airlines on four continents.  Designed for quick turnaround, high-frequency and short- range markets (up to 1,500 nautical miles), the 717 offers big-jet passenger comfort with the lowest noise and emissions in its class. The twinjet is powered by Rolls-Royce BR715 high-bypass-ratio engines developed and produced in Europe.

“The 717 is ideally suited for the market where Volotea hopes to thrive. The twinjet is a good neighbor – it is fuel efficient and easier on the environment than its competitors. These are important concerns for the European market, and the 717 addresses them better than any other product in its market niche,” said Thomas Hansen, Boeing Capital director of asset management.

Volotea’s 717s will be configured to carry 125 passengers in an all-coach layout.

Boeing Capital is the world’s largest lease provider of the modern, fuel-efficient twin jet. The first 717 was delivered in 1999; there are more than 150 of them in service today. The twinjet’s technology and fleet performance have earned it the distinction of being the world’s best jetliner serving the 100-passenger airline market.

Lion Air finalizes order for 201 737 MAXs and 29 Next-Gen 737-900ERs

Lion AirBoeing and Jakarta-based Lion Air today finalized a firm order for 201 737 MAXs and 29 Next-Generation 737-900ERs (extended range). The agreement, first announced last November in Indonesia, also includes purchase rights for an additional 150 airplanes.

“The 737 MAX is the best choice for Lion Air and the best airplane to serve our passengers,” said Rusdi Kirana, Lion Air Founder and President Director. “We’re excited to be the first airline in Asia to fly the 737 MAX and to be the global launch customer of the 737 MAX 9.”

With orders for 230 airplanes valued at $22.4 billion at list prices, this deal is the largest commercial airplane order ever in Boeing’s history by both dollar value and total number of airplanes. Lion Air will also acquire purchase rights for an additional 150 airplanes.

“Lion Air has been a leader in Indonesia from the very beginning,” said Dinesh Keskar, vice president of Asia-Pacific and India Sales for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Today more people are flying in Asia at lower fares because of the 737 and this historic 737 MAX order will help connect more people in the future.”

The 737 MAX is a new engine variant of the world’s best selling airplane and builds on the strengths of today’s Next-Generation 737. The 737 MAX incorporates the latest-technology CFM International LEAP-1B engines to deliver the highest efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market.

Airlines operating the 737 MAX will see a 10-12 percent fuel burn improvement over today’s most fuel efficient single-aisle airplanes and a 7 percent operating cost per seat advantage over tomorrow’s competition.

To date, the 737 MAX has orders and commitments for more than 1,000 airplanes from 15 customers and the Next-Generation 737 family has won orders for more than 6,600 airplanes.

Lion Air, Indonesia’s largest private airline, currently operates or has on order a total of 178 Next-Generation 737s.

Boeing delivers Uzbekistan Airways new 767-300ER as airline celebrates 20th anniversary

Uzbekistan 767 B-1Boeing has delivered a new 767-300ER (Extended Range) passenger airplane to Uzbekistan Airways, coinciding with the airline’s 20th anniversary.

This is the first of the four 767-300ERs ordered by the airline in 2008. Uzbekistan Airways, headquartered in Tashkent, also has two 787-8s on order.

“Air travel in and out of our region is increasing and the 767-300ER, with its excellent fuel efficiency and operational flexibility, will enable us to successfully meet the growing demand,” said Valeriy Tian, director-general, Uzbekistan Airways. “As we celebrate our 20th anniversary and implement our growth plans, we look forward to continuing our partnership with Boeing.”

The Boeing 767 family is a complete family of clean, quiet, fuel-efficient airplanes that provide maximum market versatility in the 200- to 300-seat market. Boeing has delivered more than 1,000 767s that are flown by over 120 operators around the world.

“We congratulate Uzbekistan Airways on their 20th year of successful operations and Boeing is proud to be a partner with this technically advanced and extremely well managed airline,” said Marty Bentrott, vice president of Sales for Middle East, Russia and Central Asia, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “With the new, even more passenger-pleasing cabin interior, low operating costs and technological innovations, Boeing is confident that the 767-300ERs will play an important role as Uzbekistan Airways continues with its expansion plans.”

Boeing delivers first 747-8 and 777 freighters to Korean Air

Korean Airlines KAL Dual Delivery 747-8I & 777-300Boeing and Korean Air today celebrated delivery of the airline’s first 747-8 and 777 Freighters. With the milestone delivery, Korean Air becomes the first airline in the world to operate both the 747-8 and 777 Freighters.

“We are very proud to become the first airline in the world to have the combined strengths of these two freighters in its fleet,” said Yang Ho Cho, chairman of Korean Air. “Our cargo fleet is being improved by these fuel-saving planes. They can help reduce carbon emissions by 17 percent and this supports our goal to be a responsible citizen of the world.”

Korea’s flagship carrier is the first Boeing customer to order both variations of the new 747-8 airplane and is also a key supplier partner on this new airplane program.

“Boeing is honored to celebrate this historic delivery with YH Cho and the Korean Air family,” said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.  “It is hard to imagine reaching this day without the leadership of YH and his vision to transform Korean Air into one of the best global airlines in the world.”

The 747-8 Freighter offers a range of 4,390 nautical miles (8,130 km) and a maximum structural payload capacity of 148 tons (134 tonnes), while offering an additional 4,221 cubic feet (120 m3) and 16 percent more revenue cargo volume than the 747-400 Freighter.

The twin-engine Boeing 777 Freighter is the most fuel-efficient airplane with leading economic and environmental performance in its category. It has a cargo capacity of 103 metric tons (113 tons) with a range of 9,038 kilometers (4,880 nautical miles).

Korean Air plans to operate the 747-8 Freighter on its transpacific route, with stops in Osaka and Narita, Japan, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The 777 Freighter is Korean Air’s first twin-engine freighter and will allow the airline to open into new markets in Europe, including Vienna, Frankfurt and London.

About Korean Air:
Korean Air, with a fleet of 142 aircraft, is one of the world’s top 20 airlines, and operates almost 400 flights per day to 119 cities in 40 countries. It is a founding member of the SkyTeam alliance, which together with its 14 members, offers its 487 million annual passengers a worldwide system of more than 14,000 daily flights covering 926 destinations in 173 countries.

A new operational life for “mature” A330s as converted freighters

A330-300P2F GE AIRBUS V25Airbus will expand its freighter family portfolio with the A330P2F conversion, modifying A330s that have completed their useful operational service as passenger jetliners for new careers as cargo aircraft.

This conversion programme, unveiled during the Singapore Airshow, brings together the resources of Airbus, its EADS EFW sister company within the EADS group, and ST Aerospace of Singapore.

Both A330-200 and A330-300 versions of Airbus’ twin-engine jetliner will be eligible for the P2F (passenger-to-freighter) conversion, meeting the expected demand for modern, efficient and highly capable mid-sized cargo aircraft.  They are to complement Airbus’ A330-200F freighters, which are new-production jetliners that also respond to the requirements of this cargo market segment.

“Both the A330-200F and A330P2F will play a key role in this market segment, as the A330 has established itself as the most popular platform in the mid-sized widebody category,” explained Andreas Hermann, Vice President – Freighters at Airbus.  “The A330P2F addresses a different price-point and end-users, based on different operational requirements.”

He said the market already has proven it can support both new-production freighters and converted freighter products using the same aircraft platform as the basis – if the platform is right.  “We believe the A330 is one such platform, and we expect it will enjoy strong demand in both products.”

The A330 first entered service in 1994.  Nearly 1,200 aircraft have been ordered, with almost 850 delivered to date.