Julian Moxon/PARIS

AIRBUS INDUSTRIE is set to secure between 60 and 100 orders and options for new narrow-body aircraft from GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS), according to sources close to the negotiations (Flight International, 17-23 January).

The order would follow on the heels of the huge deal with Boeing announced on 22 January, under which GECAS will buy up to 259 aircraft, including 20 current- model 737s and 82 next-generation 737s, with options for 76 further 737-600s, -700s and -800s. In addition, the agreement gives GECAS the flexibility to buy another 76 new-model 737s. Added together with a deal for five GE90-powered 777 wide-body twins, the potential value of the deal exceeds $4 billion.

Reflecting on the GECAS combination order for 737s and 777s, Airbus leasing markets vice-president Christian Scherer says that the consortium is "very hopeful" of securing an order for four-engine A340s as well.

"It's fair to say the order focus is on the A320 range, but we expect GECAS to follow the market trend." This could result in an order for between ten and 12 aircraft, he says.

Scherer throws cold water on speculation that the GECAS deal will spark a round of orders of a similar size from rival leasing companies, although he says that he expects several smaller deals to be signed in the near future.

He adds, that Airbus is unlikely to suffer from its lack of a competitor, to the Boeing 747, as it has in recent major airline orders. "The 747 is a very risky investment and has been disastrous for leasing companies," he says.

About half of the forthcoming GECAS narrow-body order will be for 150-seat A320s, the rest being divided evenly between the A319 and A321.

Source: Flight International