Steven Udvar-Hazy, the self-proclaimed godfather of aircraft leasing, said Boeing Co.’s stretched Dreamliner has better fuel economy over Airbus SAS’s A350-900, making the new 787 attractive to airlines.
“If it’s identically configured, the -10 has a little bit of an edge on the -900,” Udvar-Hazy, 67, chief executive officer of Air Lease Corp., told reporters today at the Paris Air Show after the company agreed to buy 30 of the planes. “The -900 has a little more range, but this has lower fuel burn.”
Udvar-Hazy’s comments carry weight in the industry after a four-decade career that included founding International Lease Finance Corp. in 1973, selling it to American International Group Inc. in 1990 and then creating Los Angeles-based Air Lease in 2010. He estimated in an interview last year that he had purchased more than 2,100 planes.
His comparison of the Boeing and Airbus jets was based on fuel consumption for each seat flown a mile, a benchmark gauge. He declined to give details beyond saying that the 787-10’s advantage was smaller than Boeing’s estimate of a 10 percent gain over the Airbus plane. Air Lease has ordered 25 A350-900s.
Boeing is betting airlines’ drive to lower fuel consumption, their largest cost, will spur orders for the plastic-composite Dreamliner. The 787-10 may sell as much as the two other Dreamliner variants, Chief Executive Officer Jim McNerney said today in a Bloomberg Television interview, which would add 60 percent to the 787’s order book.
The 787-10 will have range of about 7,000 nautical miles (13,000 kilometers) and seating for 300 to 330 passengers, depending on how airlines set up the cabin, Udvar-Hazy said. That performance will help push out older Boeing and Airbus planes now in service, he said.
“What I see is a lot of the original 777-200s and A340s will be candidates for replacement by the 787-10,” he said, referring to Boeing’s largest twin-engine model and the four-engine Airbus jet that has been discontinued.
Many airlines will fly both the A350 and the 787, Udvar-Hazy said. The A350-900 had its first flight on June 14 and will probably will fly again tomorrow, he said.
“I think they are both going to be very successful because they bring down the economic cost to the airlines significantly on a per-seat basis,” Udvar-Hazy said.