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$425-Million Deal Is Largest for Canada Unit : GPA Jetprop Orders 38 Boeing Propjets

From Associated Press

GPA Jetprop Ltd. Wednesday gave the Boeing Co.'s de Havilland division its largest order ever, a $425-million deal for 38 Dash 8 Series 300 turboprop planes.

The order to the Downsview, Ontario, division of Boeing Canada came the same day that American Airlines ordered 35 commercial jetliners from Boeing Commercial Airplanes in a deal estimated at $1.5 billion.

De Havilland’s order is the largest in its history and probably the largest ever for a single model of turboprop airliner, said Tom Appleton, de Havilland vice president for marketing and sales.

The twin-engine Dash 8 Series 300 carries 50 to 56 passengers and is used primarily on commuter routes. The first plane in the series was delivered last month to Time Air of Lethbridge, Alberta.

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With GPA Jetprop’s order, de Havilland has firm orders and options for 86 of the aircraft, valued at more than $1 billion.

GPA Jetprop, a partnership between GPA Group Ltd. of Shannon, Ireland, and PWA Corp. of Calgary, Alberta, is a major lessor of turboprop aircraft.

“This order transforms us to a central role in the turboprop acquisition business,” said Naill Greene, GPA Jetprop managing director. “We have gone from being a boutique to being a department store.”

GPA Jetprop earlier ordered nine Dash 8 Series 100 aircraft, which carry 37 to 40 passengers, and took options on another five.

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Greene said GPA Jetprop’s ability to order large numbers of aircraft will benefit both manufacturers and the airlines that lease its planes.

“The smaller airlines simply could not compete for the equipment of their choice over the next few years because of the relatively short planning horizons to which they must work,” he said. “And the cash flow implications of having to hold positions for deliveries three to four years hence could be disastrous to some operators.”

For the entire Dash 8 family, de Havilland now has orders and options for 297 aircraft from 34 customers.

In addition to ordering 25 Boeing 757-200s and 10 767-300ER aircraft, American placed firm orders for 75 Fokker 100 short-haul jets and took options for another 75 in a deal potentially worth $3.09 billion for the Dutch plane builder.


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