“SINGAPORE/PARIS (Reuters) – Singapore Airlines Ltd agreed to spend $17 billion to buy 30 Airbusand 30 Boeing Co. aircraft, underscoring the airline’s bet on a pick-up in the struggling premium class market.
The significant orders announced on Thursday make Singapore Airlines (SIA) the long-awaited launch customer for a proposed stretched version of the 787 Dreamliner, boosting Boeing’s plans to offer a 320-seat aircraft designed in large part for crowded intra-Asian routes.
The move comes as SIA attempts a big strategy overhaul, pushing into the budget airlines segment and expanding its regional network.
“They demonstrate our commitment to the Singapore hub and our confidence in the future for premium full-service travel,” SIA Chief Executive Goh Choon Phong said in a statement.
“Today’s aircraft orders are among the biggest in Singapore Airlines’ history, helping to ensure that we retain our industry leading position.”
This month, SIA reported weaker-than-expected full-year results and warned of a deteriorating environment as it struggles to cope with the rapid emergence of Gulf carriers and low cost Asian rivals such as Malaysia’s AirAsia Bhd and Indonesia’s Lion Air.
State-backed Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways are stitching deals, while Gulf states race to become regional hubs linking Asia-Pacific and Europe.
Boeing has been talking up the possibility of a third model of its newest passenger plane for over a year. But the project took a back seat as Boeing grappled with a three-month grounding of the 787 fleet due to battery problems earlier this year….”Twitter