Air Lease Buys Eight Boeing 787s for Vietnam Airlines

April 30, 2012
Announcement comes amid reports that Air Lease is nearing a mega deal with Boeing to buy 60 737 MAX aircraft.

U.S. aircraft leasing firm Air Lease said Monday it has bought eight new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft to lease to Vietnam Airlines.

Financial details of the purchase were not revealed. The catalog value of the planes is $1.8 billion.

"Deliveries of the eight 787-9 'Dreamliner' aircraft are scheduled for 2017 and 2018. This transaction marks ALC's longest lead time for a lease placement to date," Air Lease Corp. said in a statement.

Built largely with lightweight composite materials, Boeing says the Dreamliner is about 20% more fuel efficient than similarly sized aircraft and is the first mid-size airplane capable of flying long-range routes.

Boeing Co. (IW 500/15) delivered the first 787 to launch customer All Nippon Airways last September, three years behind schedule.

The 787-9 is a slightly bigger version of the 787-8.

ALC, co-founded in 2010 by aviation pioneer Steven Udvar-Hazy and John Plueger, also announced the purchase of a Boeing 777-300 extended range aircraft from Macquarie Aviation for a long-term lease to Emirates, a new customer.

In addition, the company unveiled a clutch of new aircraft leases, to KLM, Sichuan Airlines and LAM airlines.

"These global lease placements demonstrate the growth of our wide-body business in Asia, the addition of Emirates to our customer base, our increasing level of business with KLM, as well as our further expansion into proven carriers in Southern Africa such as LAM," said John Plueger, president and chief operating officer, in a statement.

The latest 787-9 order brings to 12 the number purchased by the Los Angeles-based firm. ALC bought four at the Paris Air Show in June.

The ALC announcement came as The Wall Street Journal reported the company was near to clinching a mega deal with Boeing to buy 60 of the planned 737 MAX aircraft, citing people familiar with the talks.

The 60 planes have a list price of roughly $5.7 billion.

An ALC spokesman confirmed to AFP the company was in negotiations with Boeing.

The Chicago-based Boeing, the world's biggest aerospace and defense company, launched the updated 737 -- powered by a more fuel-efficient engine -- last August.

Boeing's decision to offer its best-selling 737 with a new engine, rather than building an all-new aircraft, was seen as forced by the competition from the Airbus A320neo.

Boeing says it has more than 1,000 orders and commitments for the 737 MAX, which is still in the design phase. The first deliveries are scheduled in 2017.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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