General Electric Capital Aviation announced plans last week to securitize $1.4 billion of aircraft lease obligations in the Rule 144A market. Exhibiting the markets' growing acceptance of this untested asset class, the offering contains the first-ever tranche of such a transaction rated triple-A by Moody's Investors Service.

The relatively small volume of issuance - seven issues totaling $5.5 billion priced in 2000 - and the untested performance of the collateral have kept investors and rating agencies alike at bay, as many buysiders are not yet fully comfortable with aircraft lease-backed paper.

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