Options to buy aircraft

From:         jharuni@london.micrognosis.com (Jonathan Haruni)
Organization: Micrognosis, a division of CSK(UK)
Date:         28 Jun 94 14:33:20 
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I frequently hear in the mass media that an airline has bought options
on an aircraft from its manufacturer.

What does this mean ?  Is it like an option on commodities or financial
futures ?  How much, typically, does an option cost on a plane worth X ?
What proportion of airliner options tend to be executed, and hence what
proportion defaulted ?  Can you buy options to sell airliners ? Is there
a secondary market in airliner options ?  Is there an opportunity for
arbitrage ?  (Okok, I'm getting carried away here...)

Jonathan Haruni