Air Lease Expands With $3.2 Billion Order for Boeing 777s

Steven Udvar-Hazy’s Air Lease Corp. agreed to buy 10 Boeing Co. 777 jetliners, with a catalog value of $3.2 billion, to expand its fleet of long-haul jets.

Hazy, who created the aircraft-leasing business by founding International Lease Finance Corp., later sold it to American International Group Inc. Los Angeles-based Air Lease, which he started in 2010, amassed a fleet of 155 aircraft, most of which are less than five years old, through Dec. 31, according to a regulatory filing.

The order for 10 extended-range 777-300s “will help us meet the growing airline demand for long-haul passenger airplanes,” Chief Operating Officer John Plueger said in a statement. The jetliner, with engines from General Electric Co., can carry 386 passengers as far as 7,825 nautical miles (14,490 kilometers.)

Large commercial airliners such as the twin-aisle 777 and the grounded 787 Dreamliner from Boeing, as well as Airbus SAS’s A330, command premium rates for lessors, who own about 35 percent of the airliner base today. That compares with less than 20 percent at the beginning of this century.

Air Lease has orders for another 325 aircraft through 2023, according to the filing. Of those, 177 are from Chicago-based Boeing, according to the company’s website.

The extended-range 777-300 carries a price tag of $315 million, though customers typically negotiate discounts. Air Lease’s order follows a $9 billion agreement with Airbus earlier this month for 25 A350 planes, which compete with Boeing’s 787.

Boeing has proposed a three-part fix to address battery incidents that spurred the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s Jan. 16 ruling effectively barring flights of the aircraft.

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