Singapore Airlines to Buy Another 9 Airbus A380s

Singapore Airlines said Wednesday it will buy another nine Airbus A380s, with an option for a further six of the superjumbos.

The carrier is also planning to lease 19 Airbus A330s and its regional airline, Silk Air, is ordering 20 Airbus A320s, the airline announced at a press conference.

Singapore Airlines already has 10 A380s on firm order - a deal reached in 2001 - and is expecting delivery of its much-delayed first in the fourth quarter of 2007.

"We are very pleased today to reach agreement with Airbus for a second tranche of A380s. We are looking forward now to delivery in October and commencing services very soon after," said Singapore Airlines Chief Executive Chew Choon Seng.

The order of up to 20 Airbus A320s for Silk Air has a list value of US$1.33 billion and the aircraft are to be delivered between 2009 and 2012.

Eleven of the A320s are on firm order and nine are on option.

Singapore Airlines will be the first carrier to fly paying passengers aboard the A380, the world's largest passenger jet.

But the October delivery is a year later than originally planned. Subsequent deliveries have suffered longer delays, averaging two years.

Singapore Airlines has said the Toulouse, France-based aircraft maker would provide compensation for the delays but that the terms of the settlement were confidential.

Airbus and parent company European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. have blamed wiring problems for delays that are set to wipe 4.8 billion euros ($6.3 billion) off EADS profits over the next four years and complicate plans for the mid-size A350 jet, meant to compete with Boeing Co.'s upcoming 787.

Airbus Chief Executive and President Louis Gallios told a press conference he expects more "good news" about orders from existing customers of the A380.

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