Ian Verchere

Farnborough opened yesterday to with the sound of Champagne corks popping as major manufacturers celebrated mega deals.

Boeing announced two blockbuster orders from aircraft lessors GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) and International Lease Finance (ILFC) worth more than $10 billion.

Bombardier added a further $4 billion of sales for regional jets as well as launching a new model and Embraer rejoiced with a $1 billion business aircraft order.But the key order was certainly Boeing's with the requirement for 777 and 737 aircraft.

In the first of these, GECAS's commitment is for "options and purchase rights" for 74 Boeing 777 Longer-Range Derivatives, 777-200ERs (extended range) and Next-Generation 737s worth $5.5 billion. They are due for delivery between 2001-7.Subject to "the signing of a definitive agreement", GECAS will order 10 of the recently launched longer-range 777s with option and purchase rights for another 10. The package also includes five Boeing 777-200ER jetliners, plus options for two more and purchase rights on another five. Also included are 65 Next-Generation 737s and options on another 52.ILFC topped up the orders with 40 new Boeing airliners, including 33 Boeing 777 widebodies. The Los Angeles-based firm has also booked seven slots on the Next-Generation 737 production line bringing to 211 the total number of this variant ILFC has ordered. Delivery of the 777s - eight new Boeing 777 Longer-Range Derivatives and 25 copies of the 777-200ERs - is scheduled over the period 2002-9. The Boeing 737s will be delivered between 2003-5. This order would bring its Boeing fleet to 644 since 1977.


ILFC president Steven Udvar-Hazy says: "The Boeing 777 and Next-Generation 737 have proven very popular with our airline customers. "The Boeing airliner is unparalleled in customer appeal. It burns less fuel, is 45min faster coast-to-coast USA, climbs better and has a better power-to-weight ratio than its European rival. It's an all-do airplane," he adds.

ILFC was the first leasing company to order the 777 and, with this latest announcement, will have committed to 67 of the advanced technology twinjets. So far, airline customers for these leased jets have included China Southern, Air Europe Italy, Aeroflot, Continental, Air France and Emirates.

Source: Flight Daily News