Saab Aircraft Leasing (SAL) is calling 2006 the year of the “turboprop comeback” after the firm nearly doubled its average aircraft transactions and achieved its best year in a decade of leasing activities.

A total 58 transactions, a combination of aircraft leases and sales for 40 Saab 340s and 18 Saab 2000s, were recorded by the company in 2006. This compares with 32 transactions in 2005.

Placements were made with existing customers as well as new clients, including Jet Line in the Ukraine, Canada’s Prince Edward Air, and Mexico-based Saint-Ex, which acquired dedicated cargo Saab 340As.

“This has truly been a fantastic year for us made possible by the resurgence of the turboprop and the hard work of our team,” says SAL president and chief executive Michael Magnusson. “We have also noted an increase in the number of non-SAL Saab aircraft transactions, providing yet more proof of the popularity and durability of this these aircraft types.”

Magnusson tells Flight that “demand for good used turboprops is getting stronger and thus lease rates and prices are increasing as supply is going down”.

He adds that it will be “interesting to see if this continues in 2007”.

With headquarters in Washington, DC, SAL manages a portfolio of 150 Saab 340s and Saab 2000 aircraft. The worldwide fleet of these types is about 480 units across 60 customers in 28 countries.