Get on the bus

GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS), a GE Capital company, has signed a commitment for 42 firm Airbus single-aisle family aircraft, including a first-time order for its latest member, the A318, which the US-based leasing company will start receiving during the first quarter of 2004.

The deal boosts the total number of existing and future Airbus aircraft in GECAS’ portfolio to over 250 aircraft, of which 161 are ordered A320 Family aircraft. GECAS, which has now re-ordered the A320 for the third time, will start receiving these incremental aircraft in mid-2003.

For both the A318 and the A320, GECAS has selected CFM56-5B engines from CFM International, a powerplant series which is also available on the other members of the Airbus single-aisle aircraft family.

Seating 107 passengers in a standard two-class layout, the A318 is the smallest member of the highly successful A320 Family. Sharing the same fuselage as the A319, A320 and A321, it shares the A320 Family’s fly-by-wire flight controls, allowing all types to be operated by the same flight crews and maintained by the same engineers.

Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise (SALE) has also recently signed a contract with the company for the purchase of 11 more A320 family aircraft, including its first order for the A319. Altogether, the deal covers the firm order of eight 150 seat A320s and three 124 seat A319s, for delivery from the end of 2002.

The latest contract with SALE increases the lessor’s total firm orders for the A320 family to 50 aircraft, making it the largest customer for the Airbus single aisle product line from the Asian region. In addition to the A319 and A320, the SALE Airbus portfolio also includes the 185 seat A321.

UK-based charter carrier Monarch Airlines is also exercising its options to expand its 14-strong Airbus aircraft fleet with the addition of five A321s. A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed with Airbus for the purchase of the new A321s which are scheduled for delivery to Monarch Airlines from 2002.