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Air Lease places $9-billion order for Airbus jetliners

Air Lease's $9-billion order for Airbus jetliners includes 25 A350 XWB wide-body passenger jets and 14 smaller A321neos.

February 05, 2013|By W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times
  • 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 a $9-billion order for Airbus jetliners.

The deal, based on aircraft list price, includes an order for 25 A350 XWB wide-body passenger jets, which compete with Boeing Co.'s grounded 787 Dreamliner. Air Lease also ordered 14 smaller 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, set to enter service in 2014, seats 270 to 350 passengers in typical three-class layouts. The European plane-maker listed the jet as costing $254.3 million to $332.1 million, depending on the version ordered. Customers are known to get rebates.

Udvar-Hazy, 66, known as the godfather of aircraft leasing, in 2008 publicly criticized the A350 as having a shoddy design. After he voiced his disapproval, others joined the chorus. Several months later, Airbus began a redesign.

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 from 35 customers worldwide, including Air Lease.

Udvar-Hazy pioneered 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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