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Willis Lease Inks 19 Engine Sale and Leaseback Deal with Scandinavian Airlines



Willis Lease Inks 19 Engine Sale and Leaseback Deal with Scandinavian Airlines

NOVATO, Calif., March 4, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Willis Lease Finance
Corporation (Nasdaq:WLFC), a leading lessor of commercial jet engines, today
announced that it has entered into a transaction to purchase and leaseback a
total of 19 jet engines with SAS Group subsidiary Scandinavian Airlines (SAS).
Willis Lease will purchase 11 of the engines and Dublin-based Willis Mitsui &
Co Engine Support Limited will purchase the remaining 8 engines. The purchase
leaseback transaction is valued at approximately $120 million and is scheduled
to be completed by the middle of March.

"SAS is an important addition to our customer base, and we are delighted to
provide them with the capital benefits that a sale of engines combined with a
long-term leaseback affords," said Charles F. Willis, CEO and Chairman. "We
are pleased to be able to support SAS, and we are looking forward to a long
and mutually beneficial relationship.

"This transaction represents a significant milestone for Willis Lease,"
continued Willis. "It is one of the largest and most complex engine sale and
leaseback transactions ever done. We were able to combine our own financing
resources with those of our joint venture partnership with Mitsui to provide
funding for this large transaction, which serves to underscore the value of
the Willis-Mitsui combination. Our deal team, consisting of both Willis and
Mitsui members, deserves lots of credit for their structuring ability and
dedication to getting the deal done."

"We are very glad and proud to enter into this long term partnership with
Willis and Willis Mitsui," said Göran Jansson, SAS Group Chief Financial
Officer. "Willis is one of the world's largest engine lease companies and a
quality brand in the industry. Part of our 4XNG plan for a profitable SAS is
to increase liquidity from asset sales, and with this partnership and
agreement we now deliver the first of our sales initiatives."

About SAS Group  

SAS Group is a Sweden-based airline holding company with its head office in
Stockholm. It is the parent company of the airlines Scandinavian Airlines
(SAS), Blue1 and Widerøe, as well as various aviation services companies. The
SAS Group is 50% owned by the governments of Denmark, Norway and Sweden and
SAS is the flag carrier of each of these countries. SAS Group is listed on the
Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen Stock Exchanges. 

About Willis Mitsui Engine Support

Willis Mitsui & Co Engine Support Limited is a 50/50 joint venture engine
leasing partnership between Willis Lease and Mitsui & Co., Ltd based in
Dublin, Ireland, which started operations in 2011. The company's primary
mission is to acquire and lease V2500-A5 engines that power the A320 family of
aircraft and CF34-10E engines that power the Embraer 190/195 aircraft
families, although other models of engines may be purchased and leased on a
case-by-case basis. At December 31, 2012, Willis Mitsui had 15 commercial
aircraft engines in its lease portfolio with a net book value of $143 million.

About Willis Lease

Willis Lease Finance Corporation leases spare commercial aircraft engines,
APU's and aircraft to commercial airlines, aircraft engine manufacturers, air
cargo carriers and maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities worldwide.
These leasing activities are integrated with the purchase and resale of used
and refurbished commercial aircraft engines and aircraft. At December 31,
2012, Willis Lease had 184 commercial aircraft engines, 4 aircraft parts
packages and 7 aircraft and other engine-related equipment in its lease
portfolio, with a net book value of $961.5 million. For more information about
Willis Lease and to be added to our email distribution list, please visit
www.willislease.com.

CONTACT: Brad Forsyth
         Chief Financial Officer
         (415) 408-4700
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