This week in aviation news: Hong Kong Airlines places order for A330s, Singapore Airlines to allow A380 lease to expire, Turkmenistan Airways narrowly avoids suspension
On Thursday, China’s Hong Kong Airlines placed an order for nine Airbus A330-300 widebody aircraft in a deal worth an estimated $2.3 billion. "Today's announcement underscores our plan to operate an extensive regional network in Asia," said Zhang Kui, President, Hong Kong Airlines. "The A330’s flexibility also allows us to further deploy these aircraft to some long haul routes in the future, and we are going to operate the all-new A350 XWB in 2017 which will open a new chapter of our international operations." Hong Kong Airlines currently operates an all-Airbus fleet of 38 airplanes, including both passenger and freighter aircraft and 22 A330s. Airbus’ A330 family has achieved over 1,600 orders to date, carrying 277 passengers in a standard configuration and boasting a range of 6,350 nautical miles.
Singapore Airlines announced that it will not be renewing its lease on its first A380-800, which will expire in October 2018. The aircraft is on a 10-year lease from Germany-based Dr. Peters Group. Singapore currently operates a total of 19 Airbus A380s, nine of which are on lease. A further five are currently on order from Airbus. Four more aircraft of the same type and year of manufacture have leases set to expire soon, but a decision on those lease agreements is pending. The A380 is Airbus’ largest aircraft and has achieved 319 orders since its launch in 2007.
Turkmenistan’s flagship carrier has narrowly avoided suspension from operating in Russian aerospace for failing to pay $220,000 in debts to Rosaviatsa, Russia’s air traffic control agency. The Ashgabat-based airline operates flights to Moscow and St. Petersburg, and flies several routes over Russia. Turkmenistan Airways had requested an extended deadline for the payment originally due August 27, which it failed to meet. On Wednesday, Turkmenistan received notification that it would be prohibited from operating in Russian aerospace if it failed to complete the payment by September 19, but proceeded with the payment in full on Thursday. Founded in 1992, Turkmenistan Airways operates a total of 33 aircraft flying to 23 destinations.