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Udvar-Hazy launches new jet leasing firm

The L.A. billionaire says Air Lease Corp. has $3.3 billion in financing and plans to buy a fleet of more than 100 commercial planes.

July 16, 2010|By W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times

Aircraft leasing pioneer Steven Udvar-Hazy disclosed Thursday the formation of Air Lease Corp., a new Century City-based jet leasing venture.

According to a release, Air Lease Corp., or ALC, has secured $3.3 billion in financing and plans to buy more than 100 commercial planes by spring of next year.

"ALC is committed to helping shape the future of the aviation industry," Udvar-Hazy said in a statement. "We look forward to working with the leading global airlines as they modernize their fleets."

The announcement comes 37 years after he co-founded International Lease Finance Corp., or ILFC, also located in Century City.

Udvar-Hazy turned ILFC into a global aircraft leasing empire, working with nearly every major airline. It also became the biggest customer of Boeing Co. and Airbus, the world's only remaining makers of large commercial aircraft.

He became a billionaire and one of the richest men in Los Angeles when he sold the company to insurance giant American International Group Inc. in 1990. AIG allowed Udvar-Hazy to continue to run the company. In 2008, AIG received commitments of up to $182.5 billion in bailout money from the federal government after its near-collapse.

The federal government began overseeing AIG's day-to-day operations and placed limits on what the company could pay its top executives, including those at ILFC.

Udvar-Hazy abruptly left the company in February and his longtime associate, John Plueger, left a month later after briefly serving as Udvar-Hazy's replacement. Udvar-Hazy is now chief executive of ALC and Plueger is chief operating officer.

william.hennigan@latimes.com.

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