There appears to be some confusion over the orders for the 757 placed by Air 2000 and CIT Group, and how they are related. This press release from Airclaims may help;
CIT Group has in the past week concluded an agreement with British charter carrier Air 2000, an existing CIT customer, to finance its proposed acquisition of four 757-200s. With the European charter market seeing strong changes over the past year, Air 2000 has identified a need for additional capacity on short and medium-haul routes in Europe to enhance its competitive position.
The airline, a subsidiary of inclusive travel specialist First Choice, has been a long-term operator of the 757, with a fleet of sixteen of the type, and says it will add up to eight RB211-535E4-powered aircraft to its fleet over the next four years.
The tentative order includes the four firm and four optional commitments with deliveries scheduled to commence in the second quarter of 2003 and continue through 2005. Although the contract, once formalised, will appear on the Boeing orderbook as a new Air 2000 order the aircraft will join the charter carrier's fleet on seven year operating leases from CIT Aerospace under a sale and leaseback on delivery contract. With this strong liaison between CIT Aerospace and Air 2000, the British airline can be viewed as a potential customer for CIT's own 757-300s should it need to expand its fleet in the years ahead.
The airline was one of a number of carriers that viewed the aircraft during its world tour last year, although it is believed to be more interested in the manufacturer's proposed longer-range derivative of the 757-200.
"This order confirms the 757 as one of the core aircraft within our fleet. In the highly competitive short-haul leisure travel market, it has the best economics and at the same time is able to deliver the performance needs of our medium-haul requirements," says Ken Smith, Air 2000's managing director.