a white airplane flying in the sky

Singapore Airshow Day 1 – Big Orders for Boeing and COMAC

Boeing has kicked off the Singapore Airshow with orders from Thai Airways and Royal Brunei Airlines for the Boeing 787 Dreamliners. COMAC has also received orders for 40 C919 and 10 ARJ21 aircraft on the first day of the bi-annual Airshow.

Here is the recap of orders and announcements at the Singapore Airshow Day 1.

Thai Airways Orders 45 Boeing 787 Dreamliners

Thai Airways has placed an order for 45 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, as the airline looks to modernize and grow its widebody fleet and international network. This also includes an undisclosed number of options.

This order, which was finalized in December 2023, was listed as unidentified on Boeing’s Orders & Deliveries website. Deliveries are slated to start in 2027. 

“To accomplish our company’s and the national carbon neutral goals by 2050, the 45 new Boeing 787 Dreamliners will be equipped with GEnx engines, which are known for their cutting-edge technology and reduced environmental impact.”

Chai Eamsiri, Thai Airways CEO
a plane flying over a city
Thai Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Image: Boeing

This move signifies a shift from Rolls-Royce engines to GE, reportedly due to pricing disagreements. 

Industry sources have stated that engine negotiations spilled over to the choice of the aircraft. Thai’s decision to reject the A350 in favor of the B787 was partly influenced by disagreements over engine maintenance pricing with Rolls-Royce.

“GE Aerospace is proud to add Thai Airways to the list of leading airlines that have chosen the proven performance and superior efficiency of the GEnx engine to power its new 787 Dreamliners. We look forward to working together to introduce these engines into Thai’s fleet.”

Russell Stokes, President and CEO, Commercial Engines and Services, GE Aerospace.

Tibet Airlines Finalizes Order for 50 COMAC Aircraft

Tibet Airlines has finalized an order for 40 COMAC C919 and 10 ARJ21 jets, designed specifically for operation in the challenging high-altitude environments of the Tibetan Plateau. This order makes the carrier the launch customer for a brand-new high-altitude variant of the C919 under development by COMAC.

Moreover, it’s the first-ever appearance of the COMAC C919 in an international Airshow. 

a group of people shaking hands
Signing Ceremony between COMAC and Tibet Airlines

This agreement comes just months after the Tibetian carrier and the manufacturer signed a cooperation agreement in December 2023 to jointly research and develop a shortened C919 variant optimized for high-altitude airports. 

The new C919 version, expected to seat between 140 and 160 passengers, will address the unique demands of operating at thin air density at elevated altitudes.

Royal Brunei Airlines Orders 4 Boeing 787 Dreamliners

Royal Brunei Airlines has ordered four Boeing 787 Dreamliners to renew its widebody fleet. These four B787-9s are expected to complement the existing fleet of B787-8s that have been in service for 10 years.

“The forthcoming arrival of the 787-9 Dreamliner symbolizes a bold step forward in our ongoing journey toward innovation and excellence. Royal Brunei Airlines has been operating the 787-8 for the last 10 years and this order will ensure we continue with a product that our customers have come to enjoy.”

Sabirin bin Haji Abdul Hamid, CEO of Royal Brunei Airlines
a white airplane flying in the sky
Royal Brunei Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Royal Brunei Airlines was the first Southeast Asian carrier to fly the 787 Dreamliner over a decade ago. It currently operates five B787-8s, serving destinations in Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and the United Kingdom.

“By renewing its investment in the 787 Dreamliner, Royal Brunei Airlines will continue to connect Brunei with the world while offering the carrier’s signature service and comfort to passengers. The 787-9 will deliver the versatility, efficiency, and range that Royal Brunei Airlines desires to pursue increasing air travel and tourism opportunities.”

Brad McMullen, Boeing Senior Vice President of Commercial Sales and Marketing

⁠Airbus Increases A350F Maximum Payload

Airbus announced an increase in the maximum payload of the A350F from 109 to 111 tonnes, further enhancing its cargo-carrying capacity without compromising its range of 4,700 nautical miles. This comes at a time when the European manufacturer forecasts a significant demand for widebody cargo aircraft in the Asia-Pacific region.

Over the next two decades, Airbus predicts that the region will account for 25% of global demand for 1,490 widebody cargo aircraft above the 40-tonne segment.

Paris Airshow 2023 Day 3 Orders and Announcements
Airbus A350F

Airbus has already secured 50 firm orders for A350F from nine customers globally, including Singapore Airlines, Etihad Airways, and Cathay Pacific.

⁠Maldivian Orders 2 ATR Aircraft

Maldivian Aero has confirmed an order for 2 ATR 42-600, expanding their fleet to 7 ATRs. These additions will enhance reliable, low-emission, comfortable, and affordable connectivity for the Maldivian aviation market.

“By selecting 2 new ATR 42-600, Maldivian Aero invests in the lowest-emission and most cost-effective regional aircraft on the market. These turboprops will bolster Maldivian’s flexibility to reliably and comfortably serve even the shortest routes, all with maximized profitability,” said an ATR spokesperson.

Feature Image: Thai Airways Boeing 787