Re: Virgin Atlantic becomes first A340-600 customer; Air Canada orders

Date:         05 Aug 97 03:15:47 
From:         Marc Schaeffer <>
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Karl Swartz wrote:

> Virgin Atlantic became the first customer to order the new A340-600
> with an order for 16 aircraft, to be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 500
> engines.

According to the Seattle Times, both Air Canada and Virgin Atlantic
signed LOI.

> Virgin also ordered two A340-300s to augment the eight which it
> already has on order or in service.  The Virgin orders are worth about
> $2.5 billion.

I'm not sure but those two should also be LOI until the launch of the
-600 is official.

> Phase two is for A340-500/600 aircraft, and the third phase is
> reportedly for eight more widebodies to replace the carrier's
> 747-400s.

The splitting will be two A340-500 and three A340-600 aircrafts.

> Despite the press releases, it's not clear that the announcements
> actually constitute what Airbus refers to as the industrial launch of
> the A340-500/600 program.
>The only order is for 16 A340-600s, and no
> A340-500s -- Air Canada announced only of a letter of intent, not a
> final contract, and even at that is only for options on the new
> models.  Airbus had previously said that at least 25 orders would be
> required to launch the program.

According to AW&ST the target for industrial launch is 25 orders. It
seems clear to me that the two LOI are not sufficient to launch the
programs. Again according to the Seattle Times, " The commitments by the
two airlines also brought Airbus several steps closer to a formal launch
of its planned new version of its widebody A340 aircraft."

It is reported that Airbus is discussing with more than 20 customers. My
guess is that Airbus will have more than 40 orders for the -500/-600 by
the end of the year. Other customers should be Lufthansa, Swissair,
Sabena, Cathay Pacific, Air France. I'm not sure if Singapore Airlines
will choose the A340-600 or the B777-200X.

Marc Schaeffer, Luxembourg //
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