Airline Finance News - Africa / Middle East.

New York, Geneva (AirGuideBusiness - Airline Finance News Africa / Middle East) Nov 27, 2011

A J Walter Aviation A J Walter Aviation (AJW) was selected by XL Airways France for a five-year power-by-the-hour (PBH) support contract, covering the carrier's Boeing 737NG aircraft fleet at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG). It is AJW's first PBH contract in the French aviation market and its first at CDG. Nov 17, 2011

Aerostar, Lufthansa Aerostar will open flight school in Middle East. Aerostar Asset Management has acquired a Lufthansa Airbus A300-600/A310 full-flight simulator. Aerostar plans to open a flight training school in the Middle East in either in Sharjah or Oman, the company said. Nov 15, 2011

Airbus, EADS MidEast chief says Airbus may top order goal. A senior Airbus executive predicted continued strong demand for the revamped A320neo jet as carriers scramble to save fuel and raised the prospect of quick new sales at the Dubai Air Show. Demand for the jet could push Airbus even higher than the company's newly increased target of 1,500 orders in 2011, Airbus Middle East President Habib Fekih said. "Since the future looks more and more oriented to high fuel costs, the demand for the neo will continue. It started at Paris, it continued during the summer and it'll not stop," Fekih said in interview, referring to June's Paris Air Show. Fekih, the veteran of a quarter century of sales battles between Airbus and Boeing, was speaking to Reuters at the November 13-17 Dubai Air Show. During that time Europe's debt crisis has spiraled and aircraft financing has become harder to find. But Fekih said this would not deter airlines needing to replace inefficient jets or to plan expansion while squeezed by high oil prices. "At this air show we are seeing it again and you'll see it again tomorrow (Tuesday). We'll make more announcements on the same subject," he said on Monday, referring to the A320neo. Executives at the Dubai event said there were expectations that Qatar Airways would buy Airbus and Boeing jets. The airline was expected to place an order for A320neos and A380 superjumbos in Paris in June but delayed any announcement. Airbus has almost 1,300 orders and commitments for the 150-seat aircraft, which aims to deliver up to 15 percent in fuel savings starting from 2015 mainly due to new engines. It sold 50 of the planes worth USD4.6 billion to Kuwaiti lessor Alafco on Monday as lessors join in. "This year is for the neo .... Airbus has now already exceeded the 1000th order for the neo and I think it'll be even more before we close the year," Fekih said. "I'm confident totally that Airbus will exceed 1,500-1,600 orders this year. This is doable because we see how much we have in the bag already. If we add what we have today plus a few others in the coming few days, you will be close. Then, a few here and there and the number is easily reachable." Airbus logged 1,372 gross orders in 2011 up to the end of October, dominated by the A320neo surge. Boeing responded by agreeing to launch its own revamped model called the 737 MAX. Airbus parent EADS last week raised the target for Airbus gross orders before cancellations to 1,500 from 1,000, marking a historic year despite the growing debt crisis. "It is the first time in aviation history a manufacturer has exceeded this high number of orders in a year. No manufacturer ever reached 1,500 in a single year," Fekih said. The quiet-spoken former Tunis Air official joined Airbus as North Africa salesman in 1986 shortly after John Leahy, now sales director, joined the sales force in the United States. Although outwardly very different personalities, the two salesmen were given marching orders by then Airbus chief Jean Pierson to "get out and sell" as Airbus battled to break into the U.S. market and extend a growing base in the Middle East. For a while Fekih and Leahy had the only two mobile phones in the company at a time when such devices were clunky and expensive. The bills horrified Pierson who later admitted to checking them each month to see which of his proteges was most productive. Over two decades later, Fekih's Middle East operation has a market share of 60 percent by number of pending deliveries against Boeing. It makes up 10 percent of Airbus' backlog by volume, but a far larger proportion by value because of the telephone number-sized orders for long-range wide-body jets. Fekih negotiated the details of huge Airbus sales to Gulf carriers including 90 A380 superjumbos to Emirates in Dubai. Now, he and others in the company face a new challenge after Emirates placed a record USD18 billion additional order for Boeing's 777 long-range jetliner on day one of the Dubai show. Although Emirates spreads purchases between manufacturers as it accumulates a fleet large enough to support Dubai's aims to be a global hub, analysts say the deal may put pressure on Airbus to further perfect its slow-selling planned A350-1000. Fekih denied the 350-seat plane, with four customers for 75 aircraft, had any problems in gaining market acceptance. Asked about recent criticisms by the chief executive of Qatar Airways of plan to beef up the A350-1000's Rolls-Royce engines, Fekih said, "We discussed with him and we are on track with Qatar Airways. There's no problem at all. "Let's wait and see what the A350 will do. I prefer that the customer and the market judge us on our performance rather than speculation." Nov 14, 2011

Airbus, EADS, Boeing Airbus, Boeing fly high with orders from Dubai Airshow. Boeing and Airbus proved to be winners at the Dubai Airshow held this week in United Arab Emirates. Boeing received USD18.56 billion in new orders, while Airbus received USD13.71 billion in firm orders. "We're really bullish on the Middle East because the Middle East is bullish on aviation," said Airbus Chief Operating Officer John Leahy. Nov 17, 2011

Airbus, EADS, Boeing Gulf demand lifts Dubai air show. The world's top planemakers issued bullish forecasts for demand from the Middle East on Monday, underlining the region's importance to the industry a day after Boeing unveiled a blockbuster deal to sell 50 of its 777 jetliners to host airline Emirates. The U.S. company predicted that airlines in the Middle East would need 2,520 airplanes worth USD450 billion by 2030, while its European rival Airbus said it saw demand for 1,920 aircraft worth USD347 billion in the same period. "We believe that our customers will have the ability to weather the storm in Europe and the Middle East is booming," Habib Fekih, president of Airbus Middle East, told Reuters. The forecasts and Emirates' USD18 billion order for 50 wide-body Boeing jets boosted the showcase event and pushed talk of global recession to the sidelines -- though analysts said getting aircraft financing was proving an increasing challenge. Qatar Airways was expected to give the final word on possible Boeing and Airbus orders at the show while sources familiar with the matter said Abu Dhabi's Etihad had struck a USD2.5 billion deal for 12 Boeing jets on the show's sidelines. The Gulf's big three are buying wide-body aircraft to serve Asia and the United States and redraw the world's transport and logistics map with the Gulf at the center, thanks to its ability to reach most of the world's population in one long-haul hop. Kuwaiti lessor Alafco placed a USD4.6 billion expanded order for 50 Airbus A320neo passenger jets, adding to the flood of orders. Middle East demand makes up 8 percent of anticipated global aircraft demand over the next 20 years but 11 percent by value. Tinseth said the UAE alone could soak up 1,000 aircraft deliveries in the next 20 years as they access foreign markets. Alafco's chairman Ahmad Al Zabin said he was not greatly concerned about economic turmoil in Europe derailing long-term aircraft demand, especially in the Middle East. "We are talking long term...

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