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Willis Starts Engine Pool

It signs up American and Southwest.

Willis Lease Finance (WLFC) - Get Willis Lease Finance Corporation Report signed engine sharing agreements with the American Airlines unit of AMR (AMR) , Southwest (LUV) - Get Southwest Airlines Co. Report and Canada's WestJet.

The Sausalito, Calif., engine lessor said the deal covers CFM56-7B engines used to power Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft. The North American pool will start with these three member airlines, representing over 450 aircraft to be serviced by the pool.

"I believe engine sharing pools will ultimately change the way all engines are leased in the future," said CEO Charles Willis. "The North American engine sharing arrangement streamlines and automates the often cumbersome and expensive process more commonly used for engine leasing. Engines can literally be rented in a matter of minutes, complete with data packages and final contract documents produced and signed."

Each member of the pool brings a key component of the cooperative arrangement: Southwest, which has firm orders, options or purchase rights for an additional 317 aircraft over the next six years for its exclusively 737 fleet, has the potential to be a major consumer of leased engines in the pool. Both WestJet and American Airlines will make engines available to the pool and will lease from it. American Airlines, which operates a maintenance, repair and overhaul facility for itself and others, may require leased engines for that portion of its operations as well. In addition to the engines contributed by the airline members, Willis Lease is the exclusive supplier of additional engines to these pools as the fleets mature.

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