AerCap picks up Airbus jet orders dropped by Norwegian: sources

PARIS (Reuters) - Orders for five unbuilt Airbus jets relinquished by budget carrier Norwegian Air NWC.OL this week are now under the ownership of leasing company AerCap AER.N as part of a deal to finance deposits on the planes, industry sources said.

Airbus on Monday issued monthly data showing that the number of A320neos on order from Norwegian had fallen to 58 from 63.

The five planes were also included in a separate tally of nine cancellations posted in September, Airbus data showed.

They have now been transferred to AerCap, which reshuffled several of its Airbus orders in September, the sources said, adding the aircraft could be rented back to Norwegian.

Norwegian Air said on Wednesday it had not reduced the number of aircraft it intends to take from Airbus AIR.PA.

AerCap and Airbus declined to comment.

Norwegian Air is Europe’s third-largest budget airline by passenger numbers after Ryanair and easyJet and has shaken up the market with cut-price transatlantic fares. But its rapid expansion has left it with hefty losses and high debt.

Industry sources say Norwegian is now in talks with both Airbus and Boeing BA.N about restructuring future orders.

Reporting by Tim Hepher, Terje Solsvik; Editing by Kirsten Donovan