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Vietnam Airlines nears 767 leasing deal with GECAS

VIETNAM AIRLINES is close to concluding a leasing deal with General Electric Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) for three additional Boeing 767-300ERs, as replacements for wet-leased aircraft.

The Vietnamese national airline wants to take delivery of the three aircraft in early 1996. The ex-Continental Airlines 767s are to be dry-leased to the carrier for five years and will be supported by a separate flight and engineering agreement with a third party.

Air France is offering to provide engineering support and Region Air of Singapore flight support, while Ansett Worldwide Aviation Services (AWAS) is competing to provide both. All three companies are already involved with leasing and operating 767s and Airbus A320-200s in Vietnam.

Vietnam Airlines operates three Boeing 767-300ERs and a single -200ER wet-leased from AWAS and Royal Brunei Airlines. One 767-300ER is due to be returned to Brunei in 1996 for heavy maintenance, and it is eventually planned to replace all of the airline's wet-leased aircraft with dry-leased jet-powered aircraft (Flight Inter- national, 15-21 November).

Meanwhile, negotiations between Vietnam Airlines and Region Air for ten dry-leased A320-200s have become bogged down over aircraft registration. The aircraft are urgently needed to replace seven wet-leased A320s, due to be returned to Air France and GECAS (Flight International, 27 September-3 October).

Vietnam is pressing for the aircraft to be registered locally, rather than overseas, which is understood to present a major problem for financiers underwriting the proposed deal. Sources close to the discussions suggest that alternative financial support is being sought.

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