American to lease A319s and A321s

Washington DC
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American Airlines plans to lease the 130 Airbus A319s and A321s that it has on order, continuing its preference for lease financing.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier and Airbus requested bankruptcy court approval for lease financing from the airframer, as well as possible third party lessors, in a court filing on 16 May.

Third party lessors could include AerCap, Avolon Aerospace Leasing, GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS), Guggenheim Aviation Partners, International Lease Finance (ILFC) and ORIX Aviation, all of which have relationships with American.

The order is split between 65 A319s and 65 A321s, according to engine supplier International Aero Engines (IAE). Deliveries begin in July and will continue through 2017.

Airbus was understood to be providing financing for the aircraft. American disclosed that it had financing agreements for 110 of the deliveries in April while the OEM disclosed that it was providing commitments for the "purchase of certain aircraft" in January.

The OEM has notably not included the 130 aircraft in its order backlog, despite assurances from American that the deal was approved and deliveries were on track to begin in July. This could be explained by the fact that Airbus, or third parties, plans to lease the aircraft to the airline versus it buying them outright.

Airbus declines to comment.

American financed 59 of its 60 aircraft deliveries from 2011 through 2 May with leases, according to Flightglobal's Ascend Online database. It used debt from an enhanced equipment trust certificate (EETC) issue to finance the one remaining delivery, which was a Boeing 777-300ER earlier this year.

A bankruptcy court hearing on the planned lease financing is scheduled for 23 May in New York.