Florida-based lessor Jetscape has placed an order for up to 30 Embraer E-Jet aircraft, becoming the second lessor to commit to the family.

The company, located in Fort Lauderdale, owns and manages a fleet of commercial aircraft, including Boeing 737 Classics, 747-400s, 757-200s, MD-80s and Airbus A319/A320s.

The deal marks the first time Jetscape has placed an order for new aircraft.

Speaking exclusively to ATI sister publication Commercial Aviation Online, Jetscape chief executive John Evans said Jetscape was the second lessor to commit to E-Jet products. “We are, in fact, the first non-risk-sharing independent lessor to commit for a direct order of E-Jets from Embraer,” he comments.

“It is an extension of our existing strategy, not a change of direction. We will continue to provide management services for third-party clients as well as building a diversified aircraft lease portfolio. This order helps to secure future growth opportunities in our leasing business. Both activities provide complementary sources of revenue to Jetscape.”

Evans says the lessor has committed to 10 firm Embraer 190LR aircraft, and taken 10 options as well as 10 purchase rights in an order worth up to $1.25 billion. Jetscape has the flexibility to upgrade from LR to AR variants and convert to other models within Embraer’s E-Jet family.

He says Jetscape has been looking at the 70- to 120-seat market and specifically the E-Jet family for about a year now.

“This order provides a niche opportunity for Jetscape to establish itself as a leader in this rapidly-developing segment, with a new technology aircraft that offers the best operating economics and passenger appeal in its class, while most lessors are competing for acquisitions of bigger aircraft or already have new aircraft on order with Airbus and Boeing,” he explains. “We truly believe it is the right aircraft at the right time for Jetscape and our customers.”

Jetscape will take delivery of the first aircraft in July 2009. Next year it will take a total of three aircraft, says Evans.

“Embraer’s backlog is growing, so we felt the need to move quickly to secure early delivery positions, at a time when Airbus and Boeing are sold out well into the next decade,” he adds.

Evans says financing alternatives are being evaluated. “Despite current trends and tightening in the credit markets, we are encouraged by the response and generally favourable outlook on E-Jets from our long-standing commercial banking relationships, as they seek to participate in this growing market and diversify their own lending portfolios,” he explains.

“We are looking at several options and already have proposals in-hand for an acquisition facility that would cover the entire firm aircraft commitment. But we may also elect more traditional methods of financing each aircraft at delivery after finalising lease commitments.”

More news, pictures and video from the Singapore Airshow 2008 ...

Source: FlightGlobal.com