General Electric Co. (GE:US) will supply engines for Vietnam Airlines Corp.’s fleet of 787 Dreamliners, winning the $1 billion order over Rolls Royce Holdings Plc, Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said yesterday.
The deal will be signed next month at the East Asia Summit in Brunei, with U.S. President Barack Obama present, Dung said in an interview in New York City. Obama requested the signing be delayed until the summit, Dung said.
“There has been very strong competition between GE and Rolls Royce but it was transparent and GE has won the bid,” Dung said. “This is a very good deal.”
Vietnam’s nascent airline industry is vying to compete with regional carriers as Asia-Pacific passenger growth is forecast to surpass that in Europe and North America through 2016, according to the International Air Transport Association. VietJet Aviation Joint Stock Co., the nation’s only privately owned carrier, this week signed an agreement valued at $8.6 billion for as many as 92 A320 aircraft from Airbus SAS.
Vietnam Airlines Chief Executive Officer Pham Ngoc Minh was not immediately available to comment. Reuters reported yesterday that the order was awarded to GE.
The national carrier said last year it would receive 19 Boeing Co. 787-9 Dreamliners beginning in 2015. Eleven of the planes will be leased, it said. Vietnam Air also intends to add Airbus SAS A320neo and A350 aircraft as it expands to 170 planes to tap rising domestic and long-haul travel.
The state-owned airline said this month it plans to select a strategic investor as early as the fourth quarter to prepare for a stake sale next year.
Budget carrier VietJet is considering an initial public offering within the next 18 to 42 months to fund expansion overseas, Managing Director Luu Duc Khanh said in an interview last month.
Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE earlier this year agreed to supply engines for 230 Boeing Co. planes ordered by Indonesia’s PT Lion Mentari Airlines.
GE signed a deal in July to supply a steam turbine generator to Cong Thanh, a private Vietnamese company, for its 660-megawatt thermal power plant in the nation’s Nghi Son Economic Zone. The U.S. manufacturer will also work with the Vietnamese National Power Transmission Corp. to supply electricity transmission capacitors for a project to increase energy efficiency and better regulate Vietnam’s national energy grid.
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