Airbus bags deal with Philippine budget carrier Cebu Air as sales flounder at Paris Air Show

Cebu Air, which operates the Cebu Pacific brand, had a 51 percent share of the Philippine domestic market in 2018. (AFP)
Updated 18 June 2019

Airbus bags deal with Philippine budget carrier Cebu Air as sales flounder at Paris Air Show

  • Cebu Air’s order included 10 of Airbus’s new long-range A321XLR passenger aircraft
  • There is speculation that a decade-long boom in orders might be coming to an end

LE BOURGET: Airbus struck a $6 billion plane deal with Philippines budget airline Cebu Air on Tuesday, extending its lead on orders at a subdued Paris Airshow as rival Boeing struggles following the grounding of its top-selling jet.
Cebu’s order included 10 of Airbus’s new long-range A321XLR passenger aircraft, which was launched at the show on Monday, as well as 16 wide-body A330neos and five single-aisle A320neos.
Reuters reported on Monday that Cebu was poised to buy more than two dozen Airbus planes.
Sources familiar with the matter say American Airlines and leasing giant GECAS are also in talks to buy the A321XLR, which aims to carve out new routes for airlines with smaller planes and steal a march on Boeing’s plans for a potential all-new mid-market jet, the NMA.
Despite the flurry of activity around the A321XLR, however, dealmaking at the aerospace industry’s biggest annual event has been quieter than normal, fueling speculation that a decade-long boom in orders might be coming to an end.
With airlines struggling with over-capacity, slowing economies and geopolitical tensions, some analysts warn Airbus and Boeing could face a growing number of cancellations from their bulging order books.
Boeing in particular is suffering after the grounding of its MAX 737 aircraft in March following two deadly crashes.
However, the planemakers are confident of continued strong demand for more fuel-efficient planes as emissions regulations tighten and as air travel continues to rise, driven by Asia’s growing middle classes. Boeing on Monday increased its 20-year industry demand forecast.
“Although investors have started to ask questions about the state of the upcycle, the aerospace industry remains very confident in the current state of the market,” analysts at Vertical Research Partners said in a note.
Cebu Air Chief Financial Officer Andrew Huang told a news conference the 16 A330neo jets it was buying would have up to 460 seats, allowing the airline to add new international routes.
Cebu, which operates the Cebu Pacific brand, had a 51 percent share of the Philippine domestic market in 2018, according to company data. In the international market, its 19 percent share was second only to full-service rival Philippine Airlines with 28 percent.
After announcing no major aircraft orders on Monday, Boeing could unveil some on Tuesday, including a potential deal with Air Lease Corp. whose founder Steven Udvar-Hazy told reporters on Monday he would be “at Boeing tomorrow.”


Jubilant cheers as Dubai begins one-year countdown to Expo 2020

Updated 20 October 2019

Jubilant cheers as Dubai begins one-year countdown to Expo 2020

  • Dubai prepares for eye-catching countdown on Burj Khalifa
  • Live performances from singer Mariah Carey and acclaimed Emirati singer and Expo 2020 ambassador Hussain Al-Jassmi

DUBAI: Crowds gathered at different locations in the UAE on Sunday night to mark its one-year countdown to Expo 2020 in October next year, with host emirates Dubai staging a spectacular concert, topped by a light projection on the iconic Burj Khalifa.

American superstar Mariah Carey was the star of the night, which also saw performances from regional artists including Khalifa, Shamma Hamdan, Abri and Funk Radius, Showcase and Jaysus Zain. The audience also grooved to a few Arabic tunes from Emirati singer Hussain Al-Jassmi.

A make-shift stage was set up at the Burj Park in Dubai’s downtown area to host the performances, while people also enjoyed a good view of the tallest building in the world. The countdown was facilitated by Emirati social media sensation Khalid Al-Ameri and Bollywood actress Shraddah Kapoor. 

A 3-minute firework display lit up the skies of Dubai as the crowd eagerly waited for Carey to appear on stage.

The 49-year-old singer sang her all-time favorite songs, including “Emotion,” “We Belong Together,” and a revival of the Motown classic “I’ll Be There,” to an enthusiastic audience who didn’t mind the heat and humidity at the outdoor venue.

The other six emirates also marked the occasion with free-for-all activities in venues such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Al Majaz Waterfront in Sharjah, Ajman Museum, Umm Al Quwain Corniche, Al Qawasim Corniche in Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah Fort.

The events, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Expo 2020 Director-General Reem Al-Hashimy said, will “offer a window into the once-in-a-lifetime celebration that awaits from October 20, 2020.”

“The next 12 months will see us put the finishing touches to ensure an exceptional World Expo,” she added, in a report by state-run WAM.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi featured YouTube sensation Sandra Sahi, as well as singers Stephon Lemar, Layla Kardan, the Emirati Trio.

Indian band ROOH, singer and pianist Clarita de Quiroz, Egyptian oud player Rami Zaki and other regional artists were celebrating the count down at Sharjah’s Al Marjaz waterfront.

While the Ajman Museum hosted Arabic fusion band, pop-rock musician Hydyy, Emirati soul singer Chakram, poet Storm Fernandes, artist Humaira Hussain and MC Mohammed Enaba.

The 6-month Expo 2020, to be held at a vast new site in the south of Dubai, will officially open on Oct. 20 next year, with organizers expecting an estimate of 25 million visitors.