Singapore Airlines (SIA) has launched it's long awaited "W" requirement for an A310 replacement, according to this weeks Flight Int.
They have requested proposals from planebuilders and engine makers for a mix of 19 narrow and widebody jets plus 22 options.
It is believed it will be one of the most fiercely contested order battles in airline history. Last year Boeing's agreement to remarket SIA's A340s in exchange for more 777 orders sparked controvesy. This latest order could be very important in determining SIA's furure fleet strategy regarding which manufacturer it chooses.
SIA want 7 250-300 seat widebodies plus 10 options to be delivered from 2003. However, neither the proposed A330-100 or B777-100 have been launched yet. As a result SIA wants the right to switch orders between the B777-100 and -200 or between A330-100 and -200.
However, because the 777/A330 are significantly bigger than the A310, SIA will also be looking to order 12 narrowbodies plus 12 options. It is reported the choice will be between the A321 and the B737-900.
"While widebody commonality might appear to favour Boeing the selection of narrowbodies would lean towards Airbus. SIA subsidiary SilkAir is replacing it's 737-300s with 10 IAE V2500 powered A319/320s It's joint venture leasing company SALE has ordered 39 A320/321s.
It is my personal opinion they may well be a split order. Obviously all the pointers are towards the A320 for the smaller planes and the B777 for larger ones. Although, failiure to launch either the 331/771 may leave SIA with little choice about it's order. As I understand it, these aircraft are in very early stages of developement, although they are both deriviatves of course.
I must say I was a little surprised the B767-400 wasn't included in this. It would have had some commonality with the 777 (Flightdeck, cabin etc) would be available sooner and would probably be cheaper to buy than either the 331 or 771. Anyone know why the 764 may have been overlooked - or for that matter, why has the 767 been almost a total failiure in Asia apart from China?