YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Aircraft-leasing firm ILFC to open office in Amsterdam

The Century City firm also announces its intentions to buy new passenger jets for the first time since 2007.

January 27, 2011|By W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times

Century City aircraft leasing giant International Lease Finance Corp. revealed plans for expansion this year, announcing it would open a new regional office in Amsterdam by this summer and its intentions to purchase new aircraft.

The company, better known as ILFC, owns a fleet of about 950 aircraft, but hasn't placed an order for new passenger jets since 2007. It has been hampered in its ability to buy new jets because of the global financial crisis that nearly brought down its parent company, American International Group Inc.

ILFC said it was in active negotiations with major commercial jet makers, including Boeing Co., Airbus and Bombardier Inc., to purchase more planes.

The federal government has been overseeing AIG operations since 2008 and even placed limits on the salaries of the company's top executives, including those at ILFC.

Because of those restrictions, Steven Udvar-Hazy, ILFC's co-founder and former chief executive, abruptly left the company in February to start a rival business, Air Lease Corp.

Henri Courpron, a former executive at European aircraft manufacturer Airbus, took over as ILFC's chief executive in May. Since taking the position, he has worked to revitalize the company.

In a statement, Courpron said the new office in Amsterdam would be used to expand ILFC's business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The markets "are critical to ILFC's present and future success," he said.

The expansion comes at a time when aerospace analysts are forecasting an upswing in sales and production in the commercial aircraft business. In particular, the regions that ILFC is targeting with the new office are expected to have a growing demand for planes as airline traffic grows in the coming years.

ILFC said the new office would be managed by Colin Bole, who most recently held an executive position with Irish aircraft leasing company Macquarie AirFinance.

Los Angeles Times Articles