DUBAI 09: Libyan selects CFM56, plans to exercise five A320 options

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Libyan Airlines is planning to exercise options for five additional Airbus A320s and acquire up to five more Bombardier CRJ900s.

The carrier has selected the CFM International CFM56 for up to 12 A320s it ordered in 2007, including seven firmly ordered aircraft and five options. Libyan chief executive Capt Mohamed Ibsem says he is in negotiations with Airbus to firm up all five of the options, giving the carrier additional delivery slots in 2011 and 2012.

"We are considering the five options. A decision was supposed to be made by the end of this month. We're now trying to extend the deadline," Ibsem said after signing an engine contract with CFM worth about $95 million.

"We wanted to make an announcement [firming up the options] at the Dubai air show. But we were a little late in the fleet plan."

Libyan had been scheduled to take delivery of the new A320s from the second quarter of 2011. Ibsem said that earlier this year Libyan was able to accelerate delivery of the first aircraft to September 2010. The carrier will now take the first four A320s by the end of 2010.

"There were slots available and we need airplanes," Ibsem added.

He said that Libyan has also accelerated the delivery of its first A330 from the first quarter of 2012 to June 2011. Libyan ordered four A330s and four A350s at the 2007 Paris air show in a deal with Airbus that also included the seven A320s.

Ibsem said Libyan has not changed the delivery schedule of the second, third and fourth A330 and is unable to accelerate the delivery of the A350s, which are due to be delivered from 2017.

He added that Libyan is also looking at acquiring three to five additional CRJ900s for delivery in 2012. The carrier now operates five CRJ900s from an order it placed in 2008.

"We're discussing a deal to add more CRJs, but it is not finalised yet," Ibsem said.

In addition to the five recently delivered CRJ900s, Libyan now operates three leased A320s that Ibsem said will be returned as the new A320s are delivered.