Spanish budget carrier Vueling to renew fleet

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Spain's top budget carrier Vueling announced Monday it will renew its fleet of more than 40 aircraft, reportedly at a cost of some 1.4 billion euros ($2 billion).

Vueling Airlines said it was considering seeking bids from major manufacturers to replace its fleet of planes, whose operational leases are set to expire progressively over the next six years.

"To this end, Vueling is sounding out the financial community, banks as well as aircraft leasing companies, to obtain the necessary financing and the best type of financing for this operation," it said in a statement.

It plans to complete the process by the end of the year.

Vueling, the fourth largest Spanish carrier in terms of passenger numbers, currently has 46 Airbus A320s and one A319.

According to Spanish business daily Expansion, Vueling wants to buy 42 aircraft at a global cost of about 1.4 billion euros, with half of them purchased and the other half leased.

The company declined to comment on the report.

Expansion said Vueling would invite bids from the big three plane makers: Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier.

Airbus is considered to be well placed given that it equips Vueling's existing fleet and it is the main supplier to Iberia, which is Vueling's biggest shareholder with a 45.85-percent stake.

© 2011 AFP

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