Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise (SALE) has decided against ordering Embraer 190 large regional jets as a competition covering orders for Airbus or Boeing narrowbodies enters its final stages.

Industry sources say SALE decided not to acquire Embraer 190s partly because it was not satisfied with pricing.

SALE declines to comment, but the sources say its rejection of Embraer's offer means it is planning orders only for Airbus A320 family aircraft or Boeing Next Generation 737s.

Sources say that although SALE believes there is still a business case for acquiring large regional jets at some point to place on operating lease with airlines, it does not think a case can be made for new orders at the pricing levels the Brazilian manufacturer was willing to accept.

The lessor last year issued requests for proposals to Airbus, Boeing and Embraer seeking new single-aisle aircraft for delivery between 2006 and 2009 as it prepared for its first major order since 1999. SALE said at the time that decisions were expected in the first half of 2005, and the sources say a deal is imminent.

The number of aircraft SALE intends to order remains unclear, but any deal is expected to be sizeable. The lessor said late last year that its plans were for potentially 30-50 aircraft to be added between 2006 and 2009 – through direct orders with manufacturers and purchase and lease-back deals with airlines.

SALE – 35.5% owned by Singapore Airlines, 35.5% by WestLB and 29% by two Singapore government investment arms – has a portfolio of 60 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, and 12 A320s remain on firm order for delivery by May 2006.

Source: Flight International