United Airlines has exercised options on seven Airbus A319s and eight A320s, for delivery in the first quarter of 2003 to replace Boeing 727-200s. All of the airline's 727s are to be retired by the end of 2002. The airline has now placed firm orders for 192 A319/ A320s. Mandarin Airlines has taken delivery of three Boeing 737-800s on seven-year leases from International Lease Finance. Brazilian airline TAM has completed a sale and leaseback deal with Boullion Aviation Services covering two newly delivered International Aero Engines V2500-A5-powered Airbus A320s. Cathay Pacific Airways has confirmed the lease of three Airbus A340-600s from ILFC for delivery in 2002 and 2003 (Flight International 24-31 October 2000). The aircraft are being taken on initial five-year leases, for use on new non-stop services to the North American east coast. The airline will also lease three ex-Singapore Airlines A340-300s from Boeing Aircraft Trading this year, replacing three of the type on lease from Air China. Kuwait Finance House has firmed up last July's agreement with Airbus for the purchase of four A320s in a deal worth $200 million. The leasing company will receive two aircraft in 2003 and two in 2004. Finnair has taken delivery of the first of seven CFM International CFM56-powered A320s on order. The airline already operates four A319s and four A321s. El Al is finalising a plan to purchase another Rolls-Royce Trent-powered Boeing 777-200ER. The airline has secured an option delivery slot for mid-2002. The move follows abandonment of the airline's planned purchase of three Airbus A330-200s, which will see the additional 777 acquired along with another 747-400. Indian Airlines - which is planning to increase its 55-aircraft fleet to 75 - is negotiating a lease of two Airbus A320s for delivery in May, while the first two of five leased 737-200s to be operated by subsidiary Alliance Air are due to arrive by mid March.

Source: Flight International