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GECAS to buy 5 ARJ21-700 regional jets
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AVIC I Commercial Aircraft Co Ltd announced today it has reached the memorandum of understanding (MOU) to sell five ARJ21-700 regional jets to GE Commercial Aviation Services (GECAS), a leading global player in commercial aircraft leasing and finance, Hu Wenming, vice general manager of China Aviation Industry Corporation I (AVIC I), said today in Beijing.

Hu, who was present today at the establishment ceremony of Joy Air Co Ltd, a regional airline between AVIC I and China Eastern Airlines, added GECAS also intends to buy another 20 ARJ-700 planes in the future.

"GECAS will be AVIC I Commercial's first overseas client and the first leading aircraft leasing and finance company buying ARJ21 jets among Western countries," Hu said.

"GECAS said it will buy more ARJ21 planes to strengthen its fleet," Hu said.

"This means ARJ21 planes have been accepted by the market," Hu said, adding the move signals China's civilian aviation industry has made a major step towards entering overseas markets.

GECAS has a fleet of 1,450 owned aircraft it leases to more than 230 airlines in some 70 countries, and it manages nearly 300 aircraft for others.

The aircraft leasing and finance firm established its representative office in China in 1998, providing a wide range of aircraft types and financing options. It occupies 21 percent of China's aircraft leasing market, with customers including Air China, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines.

ARJ21 is China's indigenously developed regional jet with 70 to 90 seats, it uses equipment and engines from leading companies.

(Chinadaily.com.cn March 28, 2008)

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