Irish lessor Pembroke Capital has broken the Boeing 717 order drought with an order for 10 of the 100-seat twinjets, for delivery between March 2000 and May 2001.

The contract, valued at about $320 million based on list prices, takes the 717's firm order backlog to 65 aircraft. Pembroke is likely to have secured the aircraft at a sizeable discount. The programme has two other customers to date - AirTran of the USA, with a commitment for 50 aircraft and options on a further 50, and Bavaria International Aircraft Leasing, with an order for five.

Pembroke's executive vice-president marketing, Trevor Henderson, says the BMW Rolls-Royce BR715-powered 717 represents "-an excellent market and a welcome upgrade for operators in this market where, for example, over 700 ageing [McDonnell Douglas] DC-9s remain in service".

The company opted for the 717, rather than the rival Airbus A318, because of the former type's earlier availability and the fact that more data is available as the Boeing aircraft is already in flight test, says Pembroke managing director of capital markets, Brian Goulding.

"Previously we have had a Boeing 737 [delivery] programme which is coming to maturity early next year and so we needed to have a replacement product," says Goulding. "The A318 would meet the seat requirement, but it's not available soon enough." The A318 has yet to be launched.

Goulding adds that the 10 aircraft will probably go to at least three customers, although he declines to name the operators involved. No options are included in the deal.

Pembroke Capital was founded in 1993 and has 55 aircraft in its portfolio - owned, on order or managed on behalf of third parties.

Source: Flight International