Aircraft makers win dollars 4bn orders

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The Independent Online
BOEING and Airbus, the world's leading passenger aircraft manufacturers, received their first good news in months yesterday, winning firm orders for dollars 4.1bn worth of new jets from International Lease Finance Corporation.

The ILFC order, which also includes options to buy another dollars 1.3bn worth of aircraft, comes only a month after its main rival, GPA, was forced to cut its expansion plans drastically, cancelling orders and seeking financial aid from its banks and suppliers.

The order covers every model built by the two manufacturers, including Boeing's new B-777 wide-bodied long-range twinjet, and Airbus's new A319, a 130-seat jet. Boeing won the lion's share of the new order, accounting for 53 of the 82 new orders. Airbus will sell 28 planes and the troubled McDonnell Douglas just one.

Of the total, 35 of Boeing's order and all of Airbus's are new sales. The balance represents the exercise of earlier options. A fourth beneficiary, Rolls Royce, has won dollars 160m of engine orders from the contract.

ILFC, which ordered cautiously during the aviation boom of the 1980s, will be getting the aircraft at a steep discount, profiting from the industry's difficulties. While the international air travel market continues to stagnate, Leslie Gonda, ILFC chairman, said growth in demand 'is rapidly exhausting our existing order book'.

The deal establishes ILFC as the world's leading aircraft lessor, with 182 planes placed in leases worth about dollars 6.6bn.

GPA manages 300 aircraft, but more than 120 are managed on behalf of other owners. Polaris, another lessor, owns more planes but many are equipped with noisier engines that do not meet US environmental standards.