Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise (S.A.L.E.) has exercised an option for the purchase of an additional A320 aircraft, bringing its total order for Airbus aircraft to 51 to date. The Asian-based lessor is the largest customer for the A320 single-aisle product line in the region.

Including the newly exercised option, S.A.L.E. has placed orders for three A319s, 42 A320s and six A321s. Of these, 19 A320s and two A321s have already been delivered to the Singapore-based aircraft leasing company. Delivery of the newly exercised A320 is scheduled for May 2004.

Robert Martin, S.A.L.E. Managing Director, said that the lessor maintained its outlook for a return to growth in the air transport market within the next year, generating further demand for new generation aircraft types.

"Following the recent retirement by airlines of many older aircraft, we believe that demand for newer aircraft types such as the A320 Family will be strong in the coming years," he said. "At S.A.L.E. we have therefore maintained all our firm orders, continue to convert our A320 Family options and are also acquiring additional aircraft through purchase and leaseback agreements."

NoŽl Forgeard, Airbus President and Chief Executive Officer, noted that the order once again underscored the A320 Family's position as the aircraft of choice in the single-aisle category.

"The leasing market is a barometer of the long-term preferences of both the airlines and financial institutions and we are therefore heartened that S.A.L.E. has once again affirmed its confidence in the A320 Family," Mr. Forgeard said.

Designed to optimise passenger comfort and ensure savings in just about every element of direct operating costs, the 107-seat A318, 124-seat A319, 150-seat A320 and 185-seat A321 form the world's most profitable and fastest selling single-aisle aircraft family. The A320 Family offers passengers the widest cabin and most comfortable seats of any single-aisle airliner, as well as an unmatched combination of economy and range. Airbus has booked more than 2,700 orders for the A320 Family to date, of which over 1,600 have been delivered to more than 100 customers.

A leading aircraft manufacturer with the most modern and comprehensive product line on the market, Airbus is a global company with design and manufacturing facilities in France, Germany, the UK and Spain as well as subsidiaries in the U.S., China and Japan. Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus is a joint EADS Company with BAE SYSTEMS.