Mike Martin

The Airbus Industrie Farnborough order book hit $17.8 billion with the announcement yesterday of two major new orders. The first order from GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) was for 42 single aisle aircraft and is worth $2 billion. The second order, placed by Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise, was for 11 single aisle aircraft with a value of $500 million.

In addition, there were orders from UK-based Monarch Airlines and America West Airlines. The announcements follow a string of orders during the show. GECAS signed a commitment for 42 aircraft from the A320 family. It included a first-time order for the A318, which the US leasing company will start to receive from first quarter 2004. The order is for 30 A318s and 12 A320s, due for delivery beginning mid 2003.On both types, GECAS has selected the CFM International CFM56-5B engine.

Henry Hubschman, president of GECAS which now has more than 250 existing and ordered Airbus aircraft, says: "The great success we are enjoying in placing A320 family aircraft with airlines has convinced us to increase once again our Airbus single-aisle aircraft portfolio and to extend it now to include the latest member, the A318."He acknowledges that GECAS is talking to Airbus about the A3XX superjumbo. "We are not ready to make any announcements at this point. We will continue to evaluate it," he says, adding that GECAS is also in talks about the yet-to-be-launched A330-500 250-seat aircraft.

In a separate announcement, SALE ordered 11 more A320 aircraft, including its first order for the A319. The deal covers eight A320s and three A319s for delivery from the end of 2002. It raises the lessor's total _firm orders for the A320 family to 50 aircraft and makes it the largest customer of Airbus in the region.

Robert Martin, managing director of SALE, says: "SALE's decision to acquire more A320 family aircraft reflects the success we have had to date in placing this aircraft type on the global market.

"As SALE increasingly becomes recognised as a major player on the global leasing stage, this deal endorses our ability to work with Airbus."

Source: Flight Daily News