Airbus’s First Wide-Body Deal Since March Is for Sole Tanker-Jet
An Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), right, and other fighter jets perform maneuvers during media day at the Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition (ADEX) at Seoul Air Base in Seongnam, South Korea. (Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg)

Airbus’s First Wide-Body Deal Since March Is for Sole Tanker-Jet

Airbus SE announced its first wide-body order in almost six months -- for a single aerial refueling and transport aircraft based on an old model of its A330 jet.

The A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport or MRTT was ordered by Europe’s multinational procurement body on behalf of NATO and will be available to the air forces of six nations, Airbus said in a statement Monday.

The military purchase highlights the collapse in sales to airlines and leasing firms that traditionally dominate orders as the coronavirus crisis shatters travel demand. In normal times, Airbus and Boeing Co. would expect to have racked up dozens of orders for hundreds of planes over the summer.

Airbus’s First Wide-Body Deal Since March Is for Sole Tanker-Jet

Airbus’s last twin-aisle deal, for 10 A350-900 jets, was secured on March 31. Since then, the pandemic has compelled the Toulouse, France-based company to focus more on protecting existing orders by allowing its struggling customers to defer deliveries rather than targeting up new business.

The tanker purchase comes after Luxembourg agreed to maximize participation in the shared program and means all three options for additional MRTT planes have been exercised, taking the total fleet to nine. In addition to air-to-air refueling, the jets can carry troops, cargo and be used for medical evacuation.

Airbus will announce full order and delivery figures for September next week.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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