VIETNAM AIRLINES is negotiating to lease an Airbus A340 from Region Air of Singapore, in addition to its more immediate requirement for up to nine replacement 150-seat aircraft for its wet-leased Airbus A320s.

Region Air is understood to have already ordered one A340 and is considering the purchase of a second wide-body, in anticipation of leasing the aircraft to Vietnam Airlines.

The latter airline says that it has a requirement for between four and five long-range wide-body aircraft from 1996 onwards, but is short of funding. In addition to the A340, Vietnam Airlines has also been considering the Boeing 747 and McDonnell Douglas (MDC) MD-11 (Flight International, 22-28 February).

MDC chairman John McDonnell, meanwhile, has offered Vietnam 100% financing on any aircraft it purchases from the company. The proposal was reportedly made during a meeting between McDonnell and Vietnamese premier Vo Van Kiet on 17 February.

The MDC MD-80/90 is offered against the A320 and Boeing 737 as a replacement for Vietnam Airlines seven wet-leased A320s, due to be returned to owner Air France. The carrier wants to acquire up to nine aircraft on a lease-purchase basis.

Vietnam Airlines is understood to favour Region Air's offer of additional A320s, powered by International Aero Engines V2500 turbofans. Other competing leasing companies include International Lease Finance and General Electric Capital.

The carrier would like one or two more Boeing 767s. It already operates three 767s, two of which are leased from Ansett (AWAS) and one from Region Air.

Source: Flight International