MIAMI – Chinese lessor BOC Aviation announced this morning that it has placed an order for 5 Airbus A320 jets, all for delivery in 2017. No A320 variant was specified in BOC’s press release, but given the close-in delivery dates, the 5 additional planes are almost certainly end-of-line A320ceo aircraft. And given the close-in nature of the order, these jets almost assuredly already have a lessee lined up.
With the 5 additional A320s, BOC’s order book for A320s now consists of 29 A320ceos and 64 A320neos after the delivery of 14 new A320ceo’s to customers during the 4th quarter of 2016 (Q4). The combined sum of managed and owned A320s netted out to 138 frames after 3 were sold to lessees during Q4. BOC also owns/manages 18 Airbus A330-300s, 93 Boeing 737NG family planes, 18 Boeing 777-300ERs, 1 Boeing 777-300, 1 Boeing 787, 13 Embraer E190s, and 6 freighters. The outstanding order book includes 29 A320ceos, 64 A320neos, 3 A330-300s, 39 737NGs, 61 737 MAXs, and 2 777-300ERs.
Previously wholly owned by the Bank of China before an initial listing on the Main Board of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, BOC had a relatively quiet year by the standards that lessors set over the 2010-2015 orders boom. During 2016 proper, BOC placed just 10 new firm orders (5 A320ceos, 5 A321ceos) after placing an order for 30 A320 family aircraft (18 A320neos, 12 A320ceos) back in December of 2015.
Despite a general slowdown in orders for Airbus and Boeing this year, it would appear that Airbus’ famed “fifth quarter” spanning late December and early January is up and running full throttle. While the overall magnitude of orders over the next month plus is not expected to be huge, expect plenty of announcements of new orders from the worlds largest aircraft manufacturer (by backlog) over that period.