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Steven Udvar-Hazy to buy 54 Boeing 737s for new aircraft leasing firm

A day after announcing a deal for 51 Airbus A320 jets, Udvar-Hazy, co-founder of International Lease Finance, strikes another multibillion-dollar deal with Boeing as he establishes Air Lease Corp.

July 21, 2010|By W.J. Hennigan

Steven Udvar-Hazy continued his buying spree at Farnborough International Airshow in England on Tuesday, announcing another multibillion-dollar deal to purchase more than 50 airliners through his new start-up, Century City-based Air Lease Corp., or ALC.

A day after announcing he was buying 51 A320-family airliners from European aircraft manufacturer Airbus, Los Angeles billionaire Udvar-Hazy struck a deal for 54 of the popular 737 commercial jets from Chicago-based Boeing Co. — potentially worth about $4.5 billion based on the plane's list price. Boeing said ALC has an option to buy six additional aircraft, with delivery set to run through 2017.

"It is impressive that only five months after launching Air Lease Corp. in February, they are placing an order for 60 next-generation 737s," said Jim Albaugh, chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, in a statement.

Udvar-Hazy co-founded International Lease Finance Corp., or ILFC, also based in Century City, and grew it into one of the world's largest aircraft leasing companies before selling it to insurance giant American International Group Inc. The sale in 1990 made Udvar-Hazy one of the richest men in Los Angeles. AIG allowed him to run the company.

But in February, Udvar-Hazy retired from the company after it had come under government control amid a federal bailout of AIG.

Last week, Udvar-Hazy announced that ALC had secured $3.3 billion in financing and planned to buy about 125 commercial planes by spring of next year. They would in turn be leased to airlines.

In addition to the Boeing deal, Udvar-Hazy is buying 15 100-seat E-190 jets from Brazilian aerospace firm Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica, or Embraer.

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