Singapore Airlines will finalize an order for 19 787-10 Dreamliners next week, adding to a previous order for 30 of Boeing Co.’s wide-body planes built in North Charleston.
Singapore Airlines is the launch customer for the 787-10, the largest member of the Dreamliner family. Provided/Boeing Co. The airline scheduled to get the first 787-10 Dreamliner that Boeing Co. assembled at its North Charleston campus is about to finalize an order for 19 of the wide-body commercial planes and could be in the market for even more. Singapore Airlines said Friday it will complete the 19-plane order when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong visits Washington, D.C., next week, according to a report by Reuters.
The airline announced its plans to buy the planes in February, but the deal hasn’t been added to Boeing’s order book. Lee told the CNBC television network that he also hopes to sign an agreement to buy more Boeing planes during his visit. Singapore Airlines has options to purchase six more 787-10s. The deal to be finalized next week adds to the airline’s previous purchase of 30 787-10s. In addition, Singapore Airlines will seal a deal next week to buy 20 of Boeing’s 777-9 wide-bodies. All told, the 39 planes that will be part of next week’s purchase have a book value of $13.8 billion, although airlines typically negotiate steep discounts. Analysts value the deal at less than half the book value. Goh Choon Phong, the airline’s CEO, said in February that the order “enables us to continue operating a modern and fuel-efficient fleet, providing the (airline) with additional expansion opportunities to ensure that we retain our industry-leading position.” Reuters reports that analysts see the deal as a “major blow” to Boeing rival Airbus, which already trails in the annual competition for orders between the two manufacturers. Boeing had notched 498 orders for commercial planes through September while Airbus had 271 orders.
Singapore Airlines is the launch customer for the 787-10, which is the largest member of the Dreamliner family. The first plane, to be delivered during the first half of 2018, completed final assembly last month before rolling out of Boeing South Carolina’s nearby paint hangar sporting Singapore Airlines livery. A simple stretch of the popular 787-9, the so-called Dash-10 is assembled exclusively in North Charleston because its mid-section is too large to transport to Boeing’s other Dreamliner campus in Everett, Wash. The plane can carry up to 330 passengers and travel 6,430 nautical miles. Its construction of lightweight, composite materials makes it more efficient than the older planes it is replacing, the planemaker said. There currently are 177 orders for the 787-10. United Airlines, which has ordered 14 of the planes, will be the first U.S. airline to get a Dash 10 in the second half of 2018.