SIA, Boeing to sign deal during PM's visit to US

Singapore Airlines (SIA) hopes to sign an agreement with Boeing to buy more planes during the visit to Washington, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in an interview.

He was asked by US news channel CNBC if there were new deals Singapore hoped to do with the United States on the official working visit that begins today.

SIA had in February agreed to place firm orders with Boeing for 20 777-9s and 19 787-10 Dreamliners for additional growth and fleet modernisation. Yesterday, spokesman Nicholas Ionides confirmed that the aircraft order, which was announced as a letter of intent, is expected to be formally signed during the visit.

"More details will be announced after the signing of the purchase agreement with Boeing," he said.

The letter of intent had included six additional options for each aircraft type, which would enlarge the deal to as many as 51 planes. The proposed order is valued at US$13.8 billion (S$19 billion), based on published list prices. The 777-9s are due for delivery from the 2021-22 financial year, and the 787-10s for delivery from the 2020-21 financial year.

Separately, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement that PM Lee will stay at Blair House as a guest of the US government during his visit from today to Oct 26. "The visit will build on Singapore's wide-ranging and robust partnership with the US over the past 51 years."

PM Lee will meet President Donald Trump at the Oval Office on Monday, and be hosted by Mr Trump to a bilateral working lunch together with Cabinet secretaries and key White House officials. He will have separate meetings with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and National Economic Council director Gary Cohn.

He will also meet key congressional leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Armed Services Committee chairman John McCain, Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker and House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi. PM Lee will also meet Singaporeans at the Singapore Embassy, speak at the Economic Club of Washington and have a dialogue at the Council on Foreign Relations.

He is accompanied by Mrs Lee, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Trade and Industry (Industry) Minister S. Iswaran and Education Minister (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung. Deputy PM Teo Chee Hean will be acting PM in his absence.

Zakir Hussain

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2017, with the headline 'SIA, Boeing to sign deal during PM's visit to US'. Print Edition | Subscribe