By Tim Hepher and Conor Humphries
DUBLIN Jan 20 GECAS, the world's largest
aircraft leasing company, announced an order for 40 Boeing
medium-haul passenger jets on Monday, in a fresh boost
for the U.S. planemaker's best-selling model.
Confirming an earlier Reuters report, GECAS said the order
would be split between the current-generation Boeing 737-800 and
the future 737 MAX, a revamped jet designed to save fuel with
the introduction of new engines, starting in 2017.
GECAS is owned by General Electric, which makes the
engines for the 737 family in a transatlantic joint-venture
shared equally with France's Safran.
In October 2012, GECAS ordered 75 Boeing 737 MAX jets and 10
current 737-800s and took options for up to 15 additional
737-800s. Boeing's 737 competes with the Airbus A320.
GECAS was formed in 1993 after GE acquired most of the
aircraft of the collapsed leasing empire of Irish entrepreneur
Tony Ryan and combined it with its own Polaris operation. Most
of its 1,700 aircaft are still managed in Ireland.
Ireland this week celebrates its re-emgerence as a major
finance hub after AerCap, which owns the rump of GPA,
bought its U.S. rival ILFC.
Following completion of the deal, both AerCap and GECAS will
hold most of their aircraft on the books in Ireland, which is
attractive to leasing companies because of a 12.5 percent
corporation tax and a global network of tax deals.
News of the order came as financiers began annual meetings
in an upbeat mood about demand for the 737 and other aircraft,
at a conference in Dublin hosted by Airline Economics.
About 40 percent of the world's $100 billion annual
deliveries of commercial jets are distributed to airlines via
leasing companies like GECAS, which rent them out for a monthly
fee and collect advances towards heavy jet maintenance costs.