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American Will Finance 35 New Planes

Fri, 07/15/2011 - 6:58am

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — American Airlines said Friday that it will finance up to 35 new planes in the next three years under a sale-leaseback deal with aircraft-leasing company AerCap Holdings N.V.

American had already ordered 26 of the Boeing 737 aircraft. The airline disclosed Friday that it exercised an option to buy three more, and the AerCap deal also covered six planes to which American holds purchase rights.

They're all Boeing 737-800 aircraft that are typically used on flights within the United States.

Under the sale-leaseback arrangement, AerCap will buy the planes from American and lease them back to the airline.

Bella Goren, the chief financial officer of American parent AMR Corp., said the agreement showed that the airline can efficiently raise capital to update its jet fleet.

American reportedly is in talks for large new orders with aircraft makers Boeing and Airbus. Airline officials declined to comment on those reports Friday.

Fort Worth-based American, the nation's third-largest airline company, wants newer and more fuel-efficient planes to replace the MD-80 series aircraft that make up about one-third of its fleet of more than 600 planes.

Before Friday's announcement, the company expected to take delivery of 15 Boeing 737-800s this year, 28 next year and 14 in 2013.

AMR shares fell 8 cents to $5.01, while shares of Netherlands-based AerCap rose 30 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $12.60 in morning trading.

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