Saying the Boeing 737-800 can compete with any re-engined rival, aircraft lessor AerCap Holdings has inked a letter of intent with the US airframer for the purchase of up to 15 -800s.
The deal, consisting of 10 firm aircraft and 5 purchase rights, represents "the first time that AerCap will buy directly from the manufacturer", notes AerCap CEO Klaus Heinemann.
AerCap's portfolio of lease assets already contains a large number of Boeing aircraft.
Heinemann believes the 737-800, with its recently-announced performance upgrade, new cabin interior and the "superb" on-wing performance of its CFM engines "makes it a formidable competitor to any re-engine alternative".
Airbus is considering re-engining its A320 under a proposed New Engine Option (NEO) for the aircraft. The airframer predicts a 15% reduction in specific fuel consumption from new engines, and says its new sharklet winglets will add 3.5% in fuel-burn savings on long sectors, as well as improving field performance and noise levels.