Airbus has secured deals for its A320 family from major leasing companies in Europe and the Far East. Together the two orders will see the airframe builder's orderbook swell by around $2.5 billion.

Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise (SALE) has ordered 23 A320 family aircraft in a deal worth over $1 billion, based on list prices.

The agreement includes 20 A320s and three A321s, for delivery between 2001 and 2008, and increases SALE's Airbus narrowbody commitments to 41.

SALE is yet to make an engine selection for the latest aircraft. It specified International Aero Engines V2500s when it concluded its first A320 order in 1993.

The leasing firm has placed all the aircraft from its original order for 18 A320s, except one due for delivery in May 2000. SALE, a joint venture between Boullioun Aviation Services and Singapore Airlines, has taken delivery of eight Airbuses so far.

SALE managing director Robert Martin says the company will deliver two A320s to US start-up New Air, one in December and one next March.

Meanwhile, leasing rival debis AirFinance has signed a major forward order for 30 A320 family aircraft. Deliveries will begin in 2003.

Frank Hespel, debis chief executive, says the deal brings the portfolio of the Netherlands-based company to more than $30 billion, "which represents amazing growth in the three years since we purchased our first Airbus".

He says the success to date has been based mainly on sale and leaseback deals, but adds: "We're aiming to boost our market presence by offering aircraft from advanced delivery positions."

He estimates the market for financed aircraft will increase from around 25% of the total to "between 30% and 40%" by early next century.

The value of the order is around $1.5 billion. It comprises 10 A319s, 15 A320s and five A321s, although there is "some flexibility" in the deal to swap aircraft types around, says Airbus sales chief John Leahy.

Hespel confirms that the finance group, majority owned by DaimlerChrysler Aerospace and several German banks, is "still evaluating Boeing New Generation 737s" for a possible lease deal.

Source: Flight International