SMBC Aviation to Buy $11.8 Billion of Airbus A320 Aircraft

SMBC Aviation Capital Ltd., the Japanese plane lessor, said it will buy $11.8 billion of aircraft from Airbus Group NV in the largest single-aisle aircraft order ever placed by a leasing company amid a surge in Asian travel demand.

The order is for 110 A320neos and five A320ceos, Sumitomo Corp., one of the shareholders of the world’s third-largest aircraft leasing company, said in a statement today. The planes are due for delivery between 2016 and 2022. The $11.8 billion order is based on list prices. Buyers usually get a discount.

The purchase may help SMBC Aviation grab a bigger share of the growing travel market in Asia. Boeing Co. predicts the region will drive an increase in commercial aircraft sales to $5.2 trillion over the next 20 years, as China overtakes the U.S. as the world’s largest aviation market.

The lessor may consider buying A330neo planes at a later point, SMBC Aviation Chief Executive Officer Peter Barrett told reporters in Farnborough, England today. Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp., Sumitomo Mitsui Finance & Leasing Co. -- both susbidiaries of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. -- and Sumitomo Corp. are the owners of SMBC Aviation.

SMBC Aviation has 393 planes in its fleet, according to its website. The aircraft range from twin-aisle Boeing 747s and Airbus A340 to regional jets from Embraer SA.

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