|Passengers arrive in Vinh Airport on a Vietnam Airlines flight in the central province of Nghe An. — VNA/VNS Photo Duy Khuong
HA NOI (VNS)— The national flag carrier on Monday signed a deal with General Electric Aviation, a subsidiary of the US's GE Corporation, to buy 40 GEnx jet engines for its fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
The deal was cemented at a signing ceremony at the reception for the US-ASEAN Business Council Board of Directors in Viet Nam.
In attendance were Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Ha Minh Ngoc, the US Ambassador to Viet Nam David Shear and US-ASEAN Business Council Chairman Evan Greenberg.
The engines are expected to be delivered by 2015.
The GEnx engine represents a giant leap forward in propulsion technology. Using new generation materials and design processes to reduce weight, improve performance and lower the need for maintenance, the engines consume 15 percent less fuel than the previous engine, making it both economically and environmentally efficient.
It is also the world's first commercial jet engine with a fan case and other parts made from carbon fiber composites, which are more durable and easier to maintain.
The contract's value has not been announced but Vietnam Airlines said the deal is the biggest for GE in the country, as the company is celebrating its 20th anniversary in Viet Nam.
According to some local media sources, the contract is worth around US$1.7 billion.
CEO of Vietnam Airlines Pham Ngoc Minh said the event marked an important step for Vietnam Airlines to power its new fleet of Dreamliners 787-9 with the impressive new jet engine.
Minh said the Dreamliner would help Vietnam Airlines to fly more efficiently, add frequency and to compete with other airlines with one of the more modern fleets in the region.
"The deal has also reinforced our long-standing partnership with General Electric Company, who has always accompanied our development process," Minh said.
"I strongly believe that with our productive cooperation, the operation of our B787-9s will be successful in expanding our network, improving our services and ultimately realising Vietnam Airlines' target to become one of Asia's carriers of choice by 2020", said Minh.
Vietnam Airlines operates 90 routes to 21 domestic and 28 international destinations with more than 300 daily flights.
Operating the young fleet of 82 aircraft primarily consisting Boeing 777s, Airbus A330 and A321, the airline expects to further expand its fleet to 101 and 150 aircraft by 2015 and 2020, respectively.
The deal marks the second lucrative deal in Viet Nam's airline industry this year. At the end of September, Vietjet Air signed a contract to buy 92 aircraft from world leading aircraft manufacturer Airbus, in addition to hiring eight Airbus 320s at a total value of nearly $8.6 billion. — VNS