The company had an order book worth €686.7 billion at the end of the year, up from €566.5 billion a year earlier.
Net profits rose to €1.5 billion in 2013 from €1.2 billion.
Airbus group chief executive Tom Enders said: “Order intake was particularly strong for our Airbus commercial aircraft and provides a solid platform for the future growth of our group. Strong demand allows us now to increase the single-aisle production rate.”
Deliveries this year should be about the same level as in 2013, including the first long range A350 XWB.
Gross commercial aircraft orders should be above the level of deliveries, the company said.
Sourced from Travel Weekly
Press Release by Airbus
Airbus confirms Kuwait Airways, the National airline of Kuwait, has ordered 25 aircraft including ten A350-900 and 15 A320neo Family aircraft as part of the airlines’ fleet renewal strategy. Kuwait Airways already operates three A320, three A310, five A300 and four A340 Family aircraft.
“We are pleased to sign this deal with Airbus at this juncture of our sixty years journey” said Rasha Al Roumi, Kuwait Airways Chairperson. “The A350-900 will strengthen our long haul route development whilst the A320neo will further boost our regional route network. These aircraft are an essential part of our ambitious growth plans.”
“We are proud that Kuwait Airways chose our newest, most efficient aircraft families to build its future,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers. “By choosing the A320neo and A350 XWB, Kuwait Airways will offer its passengers the industry’s best-in-class cabin experience on both long and short haul routes, flying them comfortably in the widest seats in all classes.”
The A320neo is offered as an option for the A320 Family and incorporates new more efficient engines and large “Sharklet” wing tip devices, which together will deliver up to 15 percent in fuel savings. It is as well the fastest selling commercial airliner ever.
The A350 XWB (Xtra Wide-Body) is an all-new mid-size long range product line comprising three versions. The new Family, whose fuselage cross-section is optimized to accommodate Airbus’ 18-inch economy seat-width for long range passenger comfort, will also bring a 25 percent step change in efficiency compared with existing aircraft in this size category.
By Puneet Pasl Singh,
You would think that when an aeroplane maker decided to put its latest aircraft on public display for the first time at an airshow, it would do so with a passenger cabin that is decked to impress.
After all, these events not only attract prospective customers but also a large number of future passengers – and not to mention the media that cover the sector.
However, Airbus has taken a different approach with the A350 – its latest extra wide-bodied plane – which it is showcasing for the first time at the Singapore Airshow.
The plane on display is a test aircraft with no cabin fittings, just a few seats for the test crew and lots of machines and monitoring equipment on board.
And, according to the firm, it’s a move that has paid off.
“It is very rare that people get a chance to see what goes behind the scenes to get a plane ready to enter commercial service,” says Simon Azar, marketing manager of twin-aisle planes at Airbus.
“Bringing a test aircraft here has given them that opportunity. Everyone who has entered the plane has been astonished and impressed by what they have seen.”
And if you are a sucker for technology, which most people visiting such shows generally are, there is a lot to be impressed with.
The A350 aircraft on display is used to test the plane’s performance during various flying conditions.
There is a section where the test flight engineer monitors a slew of data on multiple screens to access its reaction to different situations.
Another desk monitors the performance of the engine during these flights.
Right in the middle of the plane there are huge box fittings called the load benches.
They are used to put extra load on the batteries – to simulate the levels generated in a commercial plane with in-flight entertainment systems, lights and other on-board gadgets being used – to gauge how the batteries would handle the load during a real flight.
And then there is the seemingly unending maze of wires.
In fact, if stretched out in a single straight line, the cables used to collect data on the test plane can cover a distance of nearly 400km.
The A350 is set to enter commercial service in latter half of this year and the firm already has orders for more than 800 planes.
The airline says that displaying the test aircraft is also a way to show customers, both those who have ordered the plane and those who may potentially do so in the future, that it is on track to meet its commitments.
“It is an opportunity to show that we are progressing well with the testing and are on course to deliver the planes on time,” says Mr Azar.
The first delivery of the firm’s previous big launch, the A380, was delayed by nearly 18 months.
Analysts say that assuring customers that it can meet its delivery schedules is key for any aeroplane maker.
“When airlines order new planes, delivery schedules are a big factor,” says Shivaji Das, an aviation analyst with consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.
“And when it involves a plane that is yet to enter commercial service, it is very important for manufacturers to assure perspective buyers that it is on course to meet its targets.
“Airshows are the best place to show that to multiple buyers at the same time,” he adds.
Airbus’s rival Boeing had also previously displayed a 787 Dreamliner test aircraft at the Singapore Airshow.
The A350 is seen as a direct competitor to Boeing’s Dreamliner and both the firms are eyeing the Asia-Pacific market.
“Asia-Pacific is the fastest growing market for aeroplanes and one of the most important ones for the A350,” says Mr Azar.
In fact, 30% of orders for the A350 so far have come from customers based in the region.
It also accounts for a substantial share of orders for the rival Dreamliner, and Boeing is displaying one of the planes operated by Qatar Airways at the event.
Both the firms have forecast that demand for planes in the region will continue to grow over the next two decades.
“It is pretty clear that Asia-Pacific is the key battleground for the Airbus and Boeing rivalry,” says Mr Das.
“Whoever wins this front is likely to emerge as the overall winner.”
It’s not a surprise then that Airbus is using the A350 test aircraft to try to reassure potential buyers that it can meet their growing demand – and more importantly do so within the promised time period.
Sourced by BBC News
By Zoe Conway,
Two top Liberal Democrat donors have been questioned in connection with an investigation into allegations of bribery at Rolls-Royce.
Sudhir Choudhrie and his son Bhanu were arrested on Wednesday as part of an investigation into allegations of bribery in Indonesia and China.
The Choudhrie family and their businesses have donated more than £1.5m to the Liberal Democrats since 2004.
The men, who have been bailed without conditions, deny the allegations.
They were arrested as part of the serious fraud office’s investigation into allegations of bribery in Asia by Rolls-Royce, which makes engines for military and commercial jets and ships
The Liberal Democrats confirmed they are aware of the SFO’s investigation but say that whilst it is ongoing they cannot comment.
The Choudhrie family businesses, C&C Alpha Group, C&C Business Solutions & Alpha Healthcare, have donated more than £1.3m over the last 10 years.
This included donations in 2010, the general election year, totalling £415,000, which accounted for 8.5% of all the donations the Liberal Democrats received that year.
Sudhir Choudhrie and Bhuna Choudhrie have personally given £185,000 to the party since 2004.
Sudhir Choudhrie, 65, who is originally from India, lives in London and is reported to have arrived in the UK 10 years ago.
Home Secretary Theresa May presented him with a lifetime achievement award at the Asian Business awards in March last year.
In an interview after the ceremony, he said the secret of his success was ”hard work and nothing else but hard work”.
The family’s portfolio of companies include businesses that specialise in providing services for the elderly and mentally ill.
The parent company of Alpha Hospitals Ltd is Harberry Investments which is registered in the British Virgin Islands, a tax haven.
Sourced by BBC News
By Puneet Pal Singh
As we sat down to plan a recent trip that involved taking a flight halfway across the world, I asked my wife if we should fly with a relatively cheaper airline and spend the extra cash on shopping.
After all, we were heading to the US – the land of outlet malls and holiday season sales.
Surprisingly, her answer was a firm no, followed by: “It’s close to 20 hours in a plane. I need to be entertained and I am not flying with an airline that doesn’t offer good options.”
And she is not the only one who looks at that factor when deciding which airline to fly with, especially on a long-haul flight.
“In-flight entertainment is right up there in the priority list of travellers,” says Shashank Nigam, chief executive of Simpliflying, a firm that advises airlines on customer engagement.
“When people know they are going to be sitting on the same seat for hours at a stretch, this could be the factor that tilts the balance against, or in favour of, an airline.”
Airlines, especially premium carriers, have realised this and are spending hundreds of millions of dollars trying to offer better in-flight entertainment than their rivals.
In July, Singapore Airlines announced a $400m (£243m) deal to equip its new planes with, what it calls, the “world’s most advanced in-flight entertainment system to date”.
Its new Boeing 777-300ER, Airbus A350 and Airbus A330-300 planes will have touchscreen handsets in all classes and larger screens.
The A350s will also offer broadband internet, mobile phone services, and live TV.
Singapore Airlines is not the only carrier improving its offerings.
Gulf-based Emirates offers Live TV on select Boeing 777 flights flying over the Middle East, Europe, Africa, parts of Asia and North America.
Australian carrier Qantas offers an iPad pre-loaded with 200 hours of entertainment content to passengers travelling on selected refurbished Boeing 767 aircraft.
In December 2012, British Airways became the first UK airline to allow customers on long-haul flights to enjoy in-flight entertainment from the moment they are seated, instead of having to wait until take-off.
“Offering the very best in-flight entertainment is a priority for us,” a spokesman for BA told the BBC.
Enhancing its in-flight entertainment services is part of the airline’s continuing five-year £5bn investment programme to strengthen the overall offering for customers.
With more than 11,000 planes expected to be sold over the next two decades in Asia-Pacific, demand for such systems is only likely to grow further.
Various companies, including Thales – the world’s second-largest maker of such systems – are looking to woo customers at the Singapore Airshow, taking place this week.
“It is the most exciting time for firms making in-flight entertainment solutions,” a Thales spokesman told the BBC.
“The demand for airplanes is growing and our industry will grow in tandem.”
The firm – which also makes other aerospace products – generated overall revenues of $14.2bn (£8.6bn) in 2012, with in-flight entertainment systems being a key contributor.
According to Thales, the in-flight entertainment system is the second most costly component of a plane after the engine.
Firms are also vying to improve the quality of the systems.
“We are getting closer to offering a similar experience to what passengers would get in their living rooms,” Thales said.
‘The next level’
The race to attract customers is likely to heat up further as airlines look to offer wireless internet connectivity across the board.
Many carriers do offer this service currently, but the take-up rate among customers has not been that high. In some cases it is too costly for passengers to sign up, while sometimes the connectivity has not been that great.
But with a recent surge in the number of people using devices such as smartphones and tablets, it is a service that airlines cannot afford to ignore.
“Free on-board internet connectivity in all classes of travel is the next level of in-flight entertainment,” says Mr Nigam of Simpliflying.
“Airlines can’t play the wait-and-watch game on this front anymore.”
Mr Nigam explains that on-board connectivity will provide carriers with an opportunity to offer more value-added services and even open up new revenue streams.
“An airline can profile its customers very well and that data is invaluable to companies looking to target a particular segment of clientele,” he says.
“You can sell advertising space depending on the routes you are flying, the class of travel and even partner with hotel firms to offer deals on-board.”
Companies specialising in the field are sensing an opportunity.
Honeywell Aerospace is displaying its latest technology at the Singapore Airshow which, it claims, will make in-flight connectivity 30 to 40 times faster than current levels, and also bring down costs.
“Passengers can experience internet connections similar to what they would in a downtown Starbucks or McDonald’s,” says Carl Esposito from Honeywell.
The firm says it is already in talks with various airlines to install the technology and has forecast revenues of nearly $2.8bn over the next 20 years for the product.
Sourced from BBC Business
By Jonathan Beale,
The RAF has “grounded” its fleet of military Voyager transport planes following, what the Ministry of Defence calls an “in-flight issue” .
The BBC has been told a Voyager carrying British troops back to Afghanistan dropped a few thousand feet while in Turkish airspace.
As a precaution the pilot diverted the plane to Incirlik – a US military base in southern Turkey.
About 200 military personnel were on board.
A few passengers suffered minor injuries when the plane suddenly lost altitude last Sunday.
The Voyager only came into service with the RAF last year.
A total of 14 of the planes are being bought for military use under a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract that is costing more than £10bn.
The MoD has replaced the RAF’s VC-10 and Tristar planes both as a transport plane, and as an air-to-air refuelling tanker.
The Voyager is a modified Airbus A330, and is now the largest aircraft in service with the RAF.
Only those Voyagers fitted with military Defensive Aid Suites or air-to-air refuelling have been affected.
So far the MoD has not given a figure of the number of planes affected, but A330s without the military fit are still being used.
An MoD spokesman said flights would resume as soon as possible, but only “when we are confident it is safe to do so”.
It is understood that there are now some delays in flying military personnel to and from Afghanistan.
Those troops returning to the UK for rest and recuperation will be given priority.
Sourced by BBC News
Airbus Press Release
Mark Lapidus, CEO of Amedeo said, “Today’s signature with Airbus is a great day for aviation as we offer airlines a new, more flexible way to access the unique benefits of the A380 through our tailored leasing solutions. As world air traffic continues to double every fifteen years and airport infrastructure and slots do not, the A380 is the best solution for airlines to capture that growth and build passenger loyalty thanks to the on-board space and comfort combination that no other airliner can compete with and do so at the lowest per seat unit cost.”
“This firm order from Amedeo is a clear recognition of the A380’s long-term market appeal. The A380’s unbeatable economics and passenger comfort are now available to airlines through operating leases from Amadeo,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers. “The A380 is the best tool for airlines to capture growth and increase profits. Amedeo’s tailored leasing solutions will make these benefits available to an even wider airline community, allowing us to expand the operator base of the A380 in partnership with Amadeo.”
Amedeo’s customers will benefit from unbeatable seat-mile costs for their cabin configurations with a baseline three class, 573 seat layout. The main deck comfortably seats 427 passengers in 18.5 inch wide economy seats, while the upper deck offers 12 first class, 66 business class and 68 economy seats. This cabin layout offers an efficient and at the same time flexible cabin configuration that minimises reconfiguration costs and eases transition from operator to operator.
Amedeo will announce its engine selection at a later date.
Amedeo’s senior management has significant experience with the A380, achieving a ranking for the Doric Group as the third largest wide-body lessor worldwide by fleet value, and the world’s largest asset manager of leased A380s. During their time with the Doric Group, Amedeo’s senior management built a 6.8 billion US$ aircraft portfolio under management, including 18 A380s acquired through sale-leaseback arrangements and adding four more as Amedeo during 2013.
Since first entering service in 2007, to date over 120 A380s have joined the fleets of ten world class airlines. The aircraft is capable of flying 8,500 nautical miles or 15,700 kilometres non-stop, carrying more people at lower cost and with less impact on the environment. The spacious, quiet cabin and smooth ride have made the A380 a firm favourite with both airlines and passengers, resulting in higher load factors wherever it flies.
The total A380 fleet has accumulated over 1.2 million flight hours in close to 150,000 commercial flights. To date 50 million passengers have already enjoyed the unique experience of flying on board an A380. Every five minutes, an A380 either takes off or lands at one of the 35 airports where it operates today and the network is constantly growing.
Press Release by Airbus
Vietnam’s VietJet Air has finalised a major order for the A320 Family to meet its future expansion plans. The purchase agreement covers firm orders for 42 A320neo, 14 A320ceo and 7 A321ceo, plus 30 purchase rights. In addition the airline will lease seven more A320 Family aircraft from third party lessors.
The order was finalised today at the Singapore Airshow by Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, Vice Chairwoman and CEO, VietJetAir and Fabrice Brégier, President and CEO, Airbus. The signing was witnessed by Dinh La Thang, Minister of Transport of Vietnam and Le Luong Minh, Secretary-General of ASEAN.
“The A320 has proven to be extremely efficient in service with VietJetAir and is a favourite with our passengers,” said Luu Duc Khanh, Managing Director, VietJetAir. “Based on this experience, we look forward to developing our business across the Asia-Pacific region. Airbus will be our strategic partner and provide us with the most economic and comfortable aircraft and coordinate with VietJetAir in relevant training programs.”
“We are pleased to finalise our first purchase agreement with VietJetAir,” said Fabrice Brégier, President and CEO, Airbus. “This order reinforces the A320 Family‘s position as the preferred choice in the single aisle market, both for full service and low cost carriers. We look forward to working with VietJetAir as it brings ever more affordable air travel to the fast growing South East Asian market.”
VietJetAir took to the skies in 2011 and is the first private airline in Vietnam to operate domestic and international flights. Today the airline operates a fleet of 11 leased A320s on a network covering 20 routes, including domestic destinations, Bangkok, Seoul and Kunming in China.
With more than 10,100 aircraft ordered and over 5,900 delivered to over 300 customers and operators worldwide, the A320 Family is the world’s best-selling single-aisle aircraft product line.
Press Release by Airbus
Airlines in the Asia-Pacific region will lead global demand for larger and more eco-efficient aircraft over the next 20 years, according to Airbus’ latest Global Market Forecast (GMF)
Airlines from the region will take delivery of some 10,940 new passenger and cargo aircraft from 2013-2032, valued at US$1.8 trillion. This represents 37 per cent of all new aircraft deliveries worldwide over the next 20 years, ahead of Europe, North America and the Middle East. In value terms, the region will account for 42 per cent of the global market for new airliners, reflecting the higher proportion of widebody aircraft required in Asia-Pacific.
In the passenger market, the fleet of aircraft operated by Asia-Pacific carriers is expected to more than double in the next 20 years, from 4,960 aircraft today to over 12,130 jets, based on higher than average annual traffic growth of 5.8 per cent and replacement of nearly 3,770 aircraft in service today.
Increasing urbanisation from already high levels in the region means that 25 of the 89 mega cities in 2032 will be in Asia-Pacific. In this period, Asia Pacifc will be home to 90 cities with more than one million passengers. Traffic will increasingly concentrate around these cities, with larger aircraft providing the most efficient means of meeting demand while overcoming airport constraints. As a result, Airbus forecasts that carriers in the region will acquire some 4,130 widebody aircraft over the next 20 years (46 per cent of worldwide demand).
Today the A330 twin aisle aircraft is used extensively in the region by its airlines for international services, and importantly connecting people regionally. This trend will develop further in the years ahead driving the need for 3,350 twin-aisle aircraft, such as the A330 and all-new A350 XWB, and around 780 very large aircraft with over 400 seats such as the A380 for the largest and in some cases most constrained airports.
In the single aisle market, the growth of new low cost operations is stimulating demand for these aircraft particularly the larger types such as the A320/A321. Since 2000, the average aircraft capacity operated by low cost carriers has grown by nearly 50 per cent. In the next 20 year, the region will need 6,810 new deliveries of this type representing over a third of the world total.
“There is no doubting the importance of the Asia-Pacific market both today and in the future. We are pleased that Airbus plays a major role in this great growth story,” said John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer Customers. “All of our products are in the region in significant numbers, and we continue to dominate sales in this region because we have the aircraft Asian-Pacific airlines need.”
In the cargo sector, the region will continue to dominate the global market. Airbus forecasts the freighter fleet operated by Asia-Pacific airlines will triple from just over 300 today to some 970, representing a third of the global freighter fleet by 2032. While many of the aircraft will be converted from passenger models, Airbus forecasts that around 270 will be new build. As in other world regions, around 30 per cent of the freighters will be in the 45 – 70 tonne category served by mid-size widebody aircraft, such as the A330.
The Asia-Pacific region is a core market for Airbus, accounting for 31 per cent of all orders recorded by the company to date. Today, there are more than 2,400 Airbus aircraft in service with around 100 operators across the region, with more than 1,700 on order with customers for future delivery. This represents over a third of the company’s total backlog, reflecting the importance of the region as the fastest growing market for new civil aircraft.
In 2013 Airbus further strengthened its position in the region, winning 80% of all new business in Asia-Pacific during the year, with 379 firm orders. The company also delivered 331 new aircraft to the region during the year, representing over half of all new aircraft entering service with Asia-Pacific carriers in 2013.
Airbus’ forecast for the Asia-Pacific region is derived from the company’s Global Market Forecast, which foresees a need for some 29,200 passenger and freighter aircraft valued at nearly US$4.4 trillion over the next 20 years, including 1,710 very large aircraft, 7,270 twin aisle widebodies and 20,240 single aisle aircraft.
The Airbus product line comprises the best-selling A320 Family in the single aisle market, the popular A330 and all-new A350 XWB in the mid-size widebody category and the flagship A380 in the very large aircraft segment. In the freight market Airbus currently offers the new-build A330-200F and the A330 Passenger-to-Freighter (A330P2F) programme.