THE PORTUGUESE Government has postponed at the last minute its decision on whether Airbus or Boeing will supply 22 new medium-haul aircraft for state-owned TAP Air Portugal.

An announcement had been due on 18 October, but this has been delayed by a week. TAP will not reveal which aircraft types are under evaluation, but says that most of the aircraft will be acquired on finance leases, while a handful will be taken on operating lease. The aircraft will be delivered over a three-year period from 1998.

TAP operates 22 leased narrowbodies: six Boeing 737-200s, ten 737-300s and six Airbus A320s. It is understood that some or all of these will be returned as new aircraft are delivered. Sources at TAP say that the new fleet could save it Esc4 billion ($26 million) a year.

Source: Flight International