GE unit said to order 25 Airbus jets as industry prepares to gather in Dubai

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Sat, 2019-11-09 00:23

PARIS: Leasing giant GECAS, the aircraft leasing subsidiary of
General Electric, has ordered 25 Airbus aircraft including a rare
purchase of jets powered by GE’s rival engine maker Rolls-Royce,
two people familiar with the matter said.

The order includes 12 Airbus A330neo jets, for which Rolls-Royce
is the sole engine supplier, and 13 A321XLR long-distance
narrow-body jets. It was included in a new Airbus order tally but
the name of the buyer was not immediately disclosed. Airbus and
GE  did not comment.

If confirmed, the decision by the world’s second largest
aircraft leasing company to invest in the A330neo would be a key
endorsement for the A330neo program which has been clawing its way
back from a period of weak sales and some cancelations.

GECAS has traditionally
prioritized aircraft powered by engines made by its parent company
General Electric.

Planemakers are gearing up for the Dubai Airshow from Nov. 17
which could feature confirmation of demand from leasing companies
including GECAS, industry sources said. 

Decisions to invest in rival technology highlight competition to
diversify portfolios in the leasing industry, even though GE is
perceived as more closely aligned in the wide-body market with
Airbus rival Boeing.

The A330neo is a 250-300 seat upgrade of Airbus’s most-sold
wide-body aircraft, the A330, which is offered alongside the
slightly larger Airbus A350 family. Both aircraft are exclusively
powered by engines from Rolls-Royce.

In 2015, GECAS invested in the first A350 by buying the aircraft
immediately after its delivery to Qatar Airways and then renting it
back to the airline in a sale-and-leaseback deal.

But it remains rare for the GE subsidiary to buy
Rolls-Royce-powered aircraft directly from
the manufacturer.

Rolls and GE compete fiercely for engine sales and the A330neo
airplane has in turn faced intense competition from the newer
Boeing 787, which offers both GE and Rolls-Royce engines.

GECAS is widely seen as a candidate for potential sale as GE
overhauls its balance sheet through disposals. It has said it aims
to invest in aircraft to keep down the average age of its portfolio
to 5.5 years from 6.8 years by 2024.

In a statement with its monthly order update on Thursday, Airbus
said an “unidentified customer ordered 13 A321XLRs in a
transaction that also included 12 A330-900 highly efficient
wide-bodies.”

It is common for aircraft deals to be posted on an anonymous
basis before the buyer goes public, often using the publicity
surrounding air shows.

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Source: FS – All-News-Economy
GE unit said to order 25 Airbus jets as industry prepares to gather in Dubai