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Vietnam's VietJet signs $3.04 bn deal with Pratt & Whitney
[SINGAPORE] Vietnamese budget carrier VietJet Air said Thursday it had signed a US$3.04 billion deal with US engine maker Pratt & Whitney, underscoring the growth potential of Southeast Asia's low-cost airline market.
The engines will power the 63 Airbus A320neo and A321neo aircraft ordered by the carrier, VietJet said in a statement at the Singapore Airshow.
The agreement is worth US$3.04 billion, VietJet said.
Industry players have said that Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, is a key growth market for budget air travel, driven by the region's growing middle class, many of whom are travelling for the first time.
"We are delighted to choose the PurePower Geared Turbofan engine for our fleet of Airbus A320neo and A321neo jets," said VietJet president and chief executive Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao.
Founded in 2007, VietJet says it currently has a fleet of 34 aircraft, including A320s and A321s, and operates 200 flights each day.
Apart from domestic services, it also flies to international destinations like Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, China and Myanmar.
US aircraft maker Boeing is forecasting that Southeast Asia needs 3,750 new airplanes in the next 20 years, with more than three-quarters of the deliveries being single-aisle airplanes favoured by budget carriers.
"Southeast Asia is the world's most active region for medium-haul low-cost carriers, which is a business model with strong growth potential," Boeing said.
The engine deal is the biggest so far announced at the biennial airshow.
On Wednesday, Europe's Airbus said it had won an US$1.85 billion deal for the purchase of six A350-900s by Philippine Airlines (PAL), the flag carrier of one of Asia's fastest-growing economies.
US-based rival Boeing announced a commitment from China's Okay Airways to buy 12 aircraft for US$1.3 billion despite a weakening Chinese economy.