Airbus Wins $9 Billion Order as Udvar-Hazy Buys A350 Jets

Airbus SAS won a $9 billion order from Steven Udvar-Hazy’s Air Lease Corp. that includes 25 A350 wide-body jets, a competitor to Boeing Co.’s grounded 787 Dreamliner.

The purchase consists of 20 A350-900s, the first variant of Airbus’s new long-range plane due to enter service, and five larger A350-1000s. Air Lease also agreed to buy 14 single-aisle A321neos that previously had been under option, Airbus said today in an e-mail.

Air Lease’s order is a boost for Airbus as Boeing works to fix electrical faults that spurred regulators to order the global Dreamliner fleet parked last month. Udvar-Hazy, the lessor’s chief executive officer and founder, has 12 787s on order and hadn’t yet ordered any A350s, a model that will make its commercial debut in 2014 after suffering delays.

Airbus’s A350 has “caught up on orders” with this and other recent purchases, Zafar Khan, an aerospace analyst at Societe Generale, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. He advises to buy Airbus’s parent European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co. and sell Boeing.

In December, Qatar Airways Ltd. almost doubled its order for A350-1000s to 37 and added three more A350-900s. Airbus has orders for 582 jets in that family of aircraft, compared with about 800 orders Boeing had for the 787 when it entered service.

Air Lease is already a big Airbus customer, with A330 and A320 family models making up about 40 percent of its fleet, according to the Los Angeles-based company’s most recent quarterly filing.

List Prices

Deliveries of Air Lease’s A350s will take place from 2018 through 2022, Airbus said. The A350 order was first disclosed in company filings and subsequently announced by Toulouse, France-based Airbus.

The A350 is Airbus’s biggest twin-engine model, with seating for about 314 passengers on the A350-900 variant, which has a list price of $287.7 million. The larger A350-1000 can hold 350 passengers and has a published price of $332.1 million. Buyers typically get a discount from list prices.

The A321 is the planemaker’s largest narrow-body plane, and the version with new engines that Air Lease ordered carries a list price of $117.4 million and seats about 185 passengers.

Udvar-Hazy earned a reputation as the godfather of the jet-leasing industry after starting International Lease Finance Corp. in 1973, which he sold to American International Group Inc. in 1990. He left ILFC in 2010 and founded Air Lease.

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