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Airbus snags deal worth $9 billion, including order for 787 rival

February 04, 2013|By W.J. Hennigan
  • Air Lease Corp. President John L. Plueger, left; John Leahy of Airbus, center; and Air Lease CEO Steven Udvar-Hazy in July 2010.
Air Lease Corp. President John L. Plueger, left; John Leahy of Airbus, center;… (Airbus )

Air Lease Corp., the Century City aircraft-leasing firm, has placed an order for $9-billion worth of jetliners with Airbus.

The deal, based on aircraft list price, includes an order for 25 A350 XWBs, which is a competitor to Boeing Co.'s grounded 787 Dreamliner. Air Lease also firmed up an order to buy 14 A321neos.

Airbus announced the deal Monday.

"The A350 XWB Family is becoming the industry benchmark for efficiency in the long haul segment, and the A320neo Family is ideal for airlines operating short to medium haul missions,” Air Lease Corp. Chief Executive Steven F. Udvar-Hazy said in a statement. "These aircraft will help airlines grow their businesses while simultaneously reducing their operating costs and emissions."

The A350 XWB (Xtra Wide-Body) is an upcoming jet, seating between 270 and 350 passengers, in typical three-class layouts. The European plane-maker listed the jet as costing between $254.3 million and $332.1 million, depending on the version ordered. Customers are known to get rebates.

It is set to enter service in 2014.

Airbus designed the plane to use 25% less fuel and provide an equivalent reduction in carbon emissions. There are 617 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 35 customers worldwide, including Air Lease.

Udvar-Hazy, a Hungarian emigre, made a name for himself pioneering the business of buying planes and leasing them to airlines when he co-founded International Lease Finance Corp. nearly four decades ago. He became one of the richest men in Los Angeles when he sold ILFC for $1.3 billion to American International Group Inc. in 1990.

After a rift with AIG, Udvar-Hazy left to start Air Lease in February 2010. He took the company public in April 2011.

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