Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Air China orders 5 747-8I's at Asian Aerospace 2011

Boeing's slow selling 747-8 Intercontinental got a boost this week as Air China ordered five of the aircraft valued at a combined $1.5 billion based on list prices, although the Beijing-based carrier noted it would get a "significant price concession." In a statement, CA said the aircraft will deliver in 2014-15 and will boost capacity by 6.6%.

The aircraft will be operated on routes to North America; CA said it hasn't ruled out further orders for the type. According to Boeing, the order requires Chinese government approval "at which time it will be posted to the Boeing Orders & Deliveries website."

The commitment was actually the smaller of two transactions announced late Monday at Asian Aerospace 2011 in Hong Kong. HNA Group signed an MOU on behalf of subsidiary Hong Kong Airlines to purchase 38 aircraft, comprising six 777 freighters, 30 787-9s and two VIP 787-8s. Boeing said it was still working with HNA to finalize the order.

Separately, HNA also signed a letter of intent with Gulfstream covering an order for one G450 and four G550s corporate jets and with Dassault Aviation for five Falcon 7Xs.

The CA 747 order appears to explain the bold red and orange paint scheme that adorned the first 747-8I rolled out last month (see photo). At the rollout, Boeing said the special "sunrise livery ... honors many key Boeing customers whose cultures recognize these colors as symbols of prosperity and good luck.” Reporters were left scratching their heads as to what this all meant, given that the only known 747-8I airline customers were based in South Korea and Germany, where neither hue is closely associated with either quality. But in China red is a sign of good luck, money, respect and recognition and orange is a sign of Yang, organization and purpose.

(Katie Cantle & Geoffrey Thomas - ATWOnline News)

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