Posted: 28 Jan 2014 03:21 PM PST
SINGAPORE/PARIS: Vietnamese carrier VietJetAir said it would finalise a $9 billion order for up to 92 Airbus aircraft next month as it seeks to tap into Southeast Asia's fast growing low-cost market dominated by AirAsia Bhd and Lion Air.
In September, privately owned VietJetAir and Airbus agreed a provisional order for mostly A320 planes, but the deal did not show up on the order book of Airbus in its 2013 data.
"VietJetAir will sign a purchasing agreement with Airbus in Singapore next month to buy 92 aircraft," said Luu Duc Khanh, VietJetAir's managing director, confirming an earlier Reuters report.
"Signing the MOU last year was our initial step and this is a next step to make our development plan comes true," he told Reuters.
A firm order is seen as a strong indication of future revenue for airplane manufacturers and triggers a deposit from airlines. Airlines mainly pay for aircraft when they take delivery and usually win significant discounts for large orders.
The latest deal worth $9 billion at list prices, includes firm orders for 62 medium-haul jets as well as options for 30 more. VietJetAir, an existing A320 operator, has said it also plans to lease eight more Airbus planes.
Vietnam's fledgling airline industry is poised to boom as local competition heats up with fleet expansions, new routes and planned share offerings that are set to make it one of the world's three fastest-growing markets. State-run flag carrier Vietnam Airlines dominates the local market.
An Airbus spokesman in Singapore said: "We don't comment on discussions that may or may not be taking place with customers or reports of potential announcements."
VietJetAir, which has been flying since December 2011, offers domestic flights and also flies to Bangkok. It has ambitious plans to develop into a regional airline, taking advantage of a boom in regional air travel.
Malaysia's AirAsia Bhd and Indonesia's Lion Air have similarly announced bold plans to expand their fleets and have captured market share from full service airlines.
A source familiar with the situation said the Airbus-VietJetAir deal would be one of the big orders to come out of the Singapore Airshow which starts on Feb. 9.
The aircraft will be delivered in phases over 10-12 years, with VietJetAir set to take delivery of the first few aircraft in the last quarter of this year, the source said.
The source did not wish to be identified as he was not authorised to speak to the media.- Reuters
Posted: 28 Jan 2014 07:29 PM PST MILWAUKEE: A 300-year-old Stradivarius worth millions of dollars was stolen from a concert violinist by thieves who shot the musician with an electric stun gun just after he had performed with the instrument in suburban Milwaukee, police said on Tuesday.
"It appears the violin was the primary target of this robbery," Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn told reporters, adding that the two thieves were seen fleeing the scene of the crime in a minivan.
The so-called Lipinski Stradivarius, an instrument made in 1715 and distinguished by unique striations on its back, was stolen on Monday night at a college campus in Wauwatosa, immediately west of Milwaukee, Flynn said.
The instrument was on loan to violinist Frank Almond of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra when it was taken from him following a performance, Flyn said.
Police said Almond was subdued with a stun gun fired at him by one of the thieves, who then jumped into the waiting getaway vehicle driven by another suspect.
Violins such as the one stolen can sell for $5 million to $10 million, Flynn said. He added that the FBI has entered the Lipinski into its international art theft database.
"This violin is very valuable, but very valuable to a very small population," Flynn said in a news conference carried by ABC affiliate WISN on its website. "This is not something that can be easily sold for even a fraction of its monetary value."
Milwaukee Orchestra president Mark Niehaus said rare instruments such as the stolen Stradivarius are in circulation because they "need to be played to live on."
The missing instrument is one of roughly 600 violins, violas and cellos built by the famed Italian maker Antonio Stradivari that are still in existence.
Korean-born classical musician Min-Jin Kym's 300-year-old Stradivarius violin was snatched in November 2010 when she stopped at a London restaurant to buy a sandwich. That instrument was found three years later and sold at auction for $2.3 million in December, according to the BBC.
A rare Stradivarius violin that once belonged to the granddaughter of English poet Lord Byron sold for $15.9 million in 2011 at a charity auction for Japanese disaster relief.- Reuters
Posted: 28 Jan 2014 07:26 PM PST
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