Not much that has happened at the Paris Air Show is directly relevant to the Australian market, but Indonesia flag carrier Garuda is the exception.
It has signed Memorandums of Understanding with Boeing for 60 jets, 30 787-9 Dreamliners and 30 additional 737-8 MAXs and a Letter of Intent with Airbus for 30 A350XWBs. (Model not specified, but the announcement was illustrated with a Garuda liveried A350-900.)
These documents don’t carry their weight in gold until firm contracts are signed and money changes hands, but on its recent decisions, Garuda is committed to a fleet expansion and replacement strategy that will keep it in touch with privately owned rivals in and around the vast spread of the archipelago nation and retain its dominance of its longer haul market as the Indonesian economy grows.
Garuda this month has 131 aircraft in service. It has a single aisle fleet of 80 Boeing 737s with 10 more 737-800s due soon, and a 50 firm order for the 737-8 MAX plus the MoU for another 30.
Its longer haul fleet comprises 22 A330s plus 13 on order and six 777-300ERs plus four on order.
This is where the intentions in relation to 787-9 Dreamliners and A350s look significant. If all 80 latest model wide body Airbuses and Boeings were used to replace all of the current and imminent wide body fleet, totalling 45 jets, that leaves a surplus of 35 additional jets for growth in roughly the next 10 years.
And it would be unrealistic to expect Garuda to by then retire all of its current wide bodies, or the total of 17 undelivered A330s and 777s that will soon join them.
It seems that we will be seeing quite a lot of the these newest Gardua Airbuses and Boeings in the nearer future in Australia. If we are lucky, more of the wider A350s than the somewhat crammed 787s, unless Garuda also opts for high density seats in the former.
Airbus v SpaceX in race to destroy NBN?
There was another development at the Paris Air Show in the ambitious reach of SpaceX for a global high speed internet service using low orbit swarms of satellites. Airbus Defence and Space announced it will build 900 such satellites for the OneWeb enterprise, and deliver them from 2018, which looks like being a bit sooner than the 4000 strong satellite cloud envisaged by SpaceX.
Both also look like being much sooner than Australia gets anything but a half mast NBN already superseded in its characteristics by the more powerful and useful broadband networks that are ubiquitous in the leading economies of the world.
While neither SpaceX nor OneWeb have said “Australia we are coming for you” as yet, they aren’t building global broadband networks for fun, or to leave out entire continents.